Domestic abuse victims at increased risk due to COVID-19 measures
Scottish Women’s Aid and the Violence Against Women and Girls sector have issued statements that highlight the increased risk placed upon women and children experiencing domestic abuse while following the measures intended to minimise the spread of COVID-19.
Vulnerable women and children may now find themselves trapped in isolation alongside their abusers, deprived of safe spaces or opportunities to contact anyone for help or support.
Victim Support Scotland CEO, Kate Wallace gives this reaction to the statements:
“I welcome the statements from Scottish Women’s Aid and the VAWG sector as I too am deeply concerned about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and children experiencing domestic abuse. Especially, those who are now faced with no other option but to self-isolate and socially distance themselves with little chance of respite from the anxiety and fear this will cause.
“Victim Support Scotland recognises that it will be even more challenging to avoid coercive and controlling behaviour, and to find the help someone affected by domestic abuse might need.
“We would like to reassure people that while we cannot provide face-to-face services at this time, we are working hard to continue to provide support. Our helpline and webchat services are free, confidential and anonymous, if necessary.
“We would urge people in this situation to seek help from Victim Support Scotland, Scottish Women’s Aid or Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline.”
Victim Support Scotland is doing everything possible to continue to provide support while our offices are closed to the public due to COVID-19. We are supporting people through our free and confidential helpline and webchat services as we understand this is a difficult time for victims who need our support now more than ever.
Anyone affected by domestic abuse can contact our free helpline on 0800 160 1985. We also have a webchat facility on our website www.victimsupport.scot, where people can connect with one of our trained supporters. Both of these services are free, anonymous, and run 8am-8pm, Monday to Friday.
Our website contains information for anyone affected by domestic abuse and has a ‘hide page’ feature. It can be quickly closed should someone be concerned their abuser will become aware they are attempting to access support.
Help is also available from Scottish Women’s Aid, which runs a helpline seven days a week from 6pm-midnight on 08088 01 03 02.
Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline is also available 24/7 via phone, 0800 027 1234, email, email@example.com, or webchat. Specially trained staff are available to offer support and information to anyone experiencing domestic abuse, or those concerned about someone else.