Frontline services for women and girls affected by gender-based violence in Scotland will receive £5m to deal with additional pressures that have occurred during the pandemic.
The funding will go to rape crisis centres and domestic abuse services to cut waiting lists, helping to ensure those affected can access the support they need more quickly. The increased support fulfils one of the commitments for the first 100 days of this government.
It will comprise approximately £4.5m to be split between Scottish Women’s Aid and Rape Crisis Scotland, and a total of £500,000 for 12 other specialist support services and organisations.
Equalities minister Christina McKelvie said: ‘Violence against women and girls is one of the most devastating and fundamental violations of human rights and is totally unacceptable.
‘We recognise the vital work that local women’s aids and rape crisis centres do day in, day out to support women and girls, including throughout the pandemic, and I know demand for these services has increased.
‘This in itself is appalling and I am determined to support rape crisis centres and domestic abuse services, which provide a lifeline for many women and girls.
‘As the need for these services has grown in this most difficult of times, this funding will help survivors, and those at risk, to access specialist support when they need it most.
‘We will continue to encourage survivors to report their experience and seek support they need.’
Dr Marsha Scott, Scottish Women’s Aid chief executive, said: ‘We have seen a huge increase in demand for support from survivors of domestic abuse and the impact from this is already being felt as our waiting lists are growing.
‘This funding from the Scottish government will help us manage this higher demand and reduce these waiting lists, allowing more accessible support for survivors.
‘For us, this is an opportunity to bridge funding between Coronavirus (Covid-19) emergency funding and a new funding system based on need, rather than historical arrangements.’
Sandy Brindley, Rape Crisis Scotland chief executive, said: ‘Seeking support after sexual violence can be an incredibly difficult thing to do, and it’s so important that when people do feel able to reach out, that specialist services are resourced to be able to provide the support that is often described to us by survivors as life-saving.
‘This funding, in conjunction with the new Delivering Equally Safe fund, is a very welcome and much-needed investment in local Rape Crisis services, but our approach must be sustainable.
‘It is only through a strategic and co-ordinated approach that we will be able to make sure that survivors across Scotland are able to access the support they deserve, at the point of need.’
Photo Credit – Volkan Olmez