The Scottish government has provided more than £4 million for domestic abuse and violence charities and projects following an increase in demand for services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additional funding of £4.25 million has been provided for charities and projects across Scotland to help respond to an increase in demand from victims of abuse for support services during the coronavirus outbreak.
Services will be up-scaled through increased staff, extending hours for centres and helplines, improvements to IT and new digital resources and training to enable people to get quick and easy access to help.
Equalities Minister Christina McKelvie said: “The greater risks to women and children of domestic abuse with referrals to frontline services increasing during the pandemic is a major concern. It is atrocious that this is the case but we are focused on ensuring that frontline services can meet the increased demand for support.
“This extra funding will help to ensure these vital services are still able to provide support to people across the country, and the scale and innovation of these projects will provide a lifeline to many women and families.
“Any kind of violence is unacceptable and the safety and wellbeing needs of women and children need to be protected - that is even more important during a pandemic. Police Scotland continue to prioritise domestic abuse cases so I would also encourage anyone suffering violence and domestic abuse not to hesitate to get the support they need.”
Updated guidance, developed in partnership with COSLA, is also already being used by local authorities to keep women and children safe.
Dr Marsha Scott, Chief Executive of Scottish Women's Aid, said: “Our local Women's Aid groups have shown extraordinary resilience and creativity in rapidly redesigning their services to continue supporting those experiencing domestic abuse throughout the pandemic. The challenges they've faced have been huge as COVID-19 has given abusers more tools to control and harm women and children.”
“This injection of financial support will provide some much-needed stability for groups against a back drop of precarious, patchwork local funding. As lockdown and other measures ease, our local groups are anticipating even more demand for their specialist services as survivors begin to have more opportunities to seek support. Additionally, if faced with a second wave of the virus, this funding will strengthen the responses of groups and allow them to build on the progress they have made in delivering services remotely. This support from the Scottish Government will help local Women's Aid services prepare to meet those needs and will mean that women, children and young people experiencing domestic abuse can access the help and advice they want, when they want it,” she concluded.