Research to understand the impact of Covid 19 on communities

We have recently submitted a consultation response to the Scottish Government’s research into the impact of Covid-19 on communities from an organisational perspective.

Download the response here

Our submission details what we at SCSN do and how our work has changed to respond to Covid-19 and continue to support our community safety members and partners and the communities they serve.

At this time, our work has been focused on gathering evidence and sharing key messages through many different ways such as social media, our website, briefing papers, polls, blogs and surveys to name a few.  We have also been more involved in ‘influencing’ by feeding into scrutiny and other decision making processes.

The key areas of focus are:

– The coronavirus pandemic has negatively impacted the communities in many ways from things like access to youth work services (compounded by funding concerns), to shared spaces and community centres, to drug and alcohol services, recycling and waste, for example.

– Other community safety services and partnership work have been severely scaled back, which, longer-term, will bring their own issues.  We’ve also starting to explore ‘what’s not getting done’ due to the Covid focus (essential at the moment) and what the implications of this are.

– We’ve seen community safety issues emerge such as poor road safety, domestic abuse, elder abuse, mental health concerns – including loneliness & isolation, the creation of more vulnerability and unintentional injuries such as falls.

– Some of the positive things we’ve seen have been: community safety teams redeployed to also deliver ‘crisis services’ showing the breadth of skill from community safety; trust in frontline staff and communities to make decisions, lifting of barriers to innovation and rapid “transformational change.”

-In the community, huge volunteering efforts, increased in cycling and walking, large numbers of people stopped or reduced drinking and efforts from national and local government to increase collective working with communities at this time.

– Some of the short term priorities we see as restrictions are lifted in the coming months include issues around income as crisis responses begin to wind up, mental health and loneliness concerns – including among the workforce, violence from serious organised crime as a ‘new normal’ is established and concerns about road safety relating to active travel as road traffic increases

– Some medium priorities for us are an increase in referrals around child neglect & abuse, vulnerable adults & domestic violence, crime increasing again as lockdown restrictions ease, the need to understand the experiences of those who are seldom heard, making the case for community safety teams and partnership working – as well as localisation and community participation in service design

– Longer term priorities for SCSN and our stakeholders will include mental health and trauma arising from the pandemic, the impact of a deep recession on community safety issues (e.g. crime) and public services, a need to ensure that the duty of public services is not rolled back on the back of amazing community voluntary efforts, and ensuring prevention becomes our collective focus once again