International Women’s Day – how we support women and girls affected by crime
Victim Support Scotland is involved in partnership working with many organisations that lobby for the rights of women in Scotland and beyond. We want to make sure our services make a lasting and positive impact on the lives of the women and girls we support.
Our staff and volunteers help us to maintain effective partnerships at a local, regional and national level.
Through collaborating with several different organisations, we are able to achieve a wide range of outcomes to improve the lives of women and girls affected by violence in Scotland.
These outcomes include:
- Influencing policy surrounding Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG)
- Helping to improve the practices of local and national government
- Sharing the views, voices and experiences of people who have been affected by domestic abuse and violence.
Through partnership working we have collaborated on a number of joint projects, most recently our staff and volunteers participated in a workshop on the safety of women on public transport on behalf of Transport Scotland. To find out more about this research, click here.
Working with partners has proved critical to ensuring that all vulnerable witnesses attending court who have experienced domestic abuse are fully supported. This is even more important considering the number of courts across Scotland that are currently dealing with a backlog of trial diets due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The support we provide alongside partners has led to many more women and girls feeling safer, having a better understanding of the criminal justice system and their role as a witness.
Many have said they feel more confident in being able to give their best evidence when supported by volunteers.
Removal of Section 23D of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 on granting bail for certain solemn offences involving Violence Against Women and Girls.
VSS has expressed concerns around the removal of Section 23D of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 on granting bail for certain solemn offences involving Violence Against Women and Girls.
The restrictions currently contained within section 23D are unique in nature designed to tackle the significant issue of violence against women and girls in our society. Any diminution of these restrictions may be dangerous for victims of these types of crimes and offences, and potentially leave victims exposed to danger if the presumption of remand is removed.
Without significant clarification as to what the public safety test means for VAWG type cases, the presumption should stay. This is especially important in the context of the overall annual trend of rising levels of domestic violence and sexual offences in Scotland.
One of the ways we are actively advocating for VAWG to be addressed in legislation and for greater protections to be enshrined. We are also advocating for VAWG to be addressed in legislation and for greater protections to be enshrined.
To find out more about our policy work, click here.
The Emergency Assistance Fund (EAF)
Victim Support Scotland is here to support anyone who may be affected by domestic abuse, whether or not a crime has been recorded by the police.
Our Emergency Assistance Fund (EAF) offers support to people fleeing abuse or violence who needs emergency financial support.
From 2020, the most common type of application received to the EAF within the category of non-sexual crimes of violence was for situations involving domestic abuse. National crime statistics highlight that incidences of domestic abuse have increased year-on-year from the first lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Due to the far-reaching financial constraints people affected by crime often experience, applications to the Emergency Assistance Fund can be made by individuals or charities supporting them through our online website form.
From 2020, 136 external agencies utilised the fund, with the highest percentage received from other victim support services such as ASSIST and Women’s Aid to direct assist people freeing domestic abuse.
VSS can provide further support by working with partners to identify legal aid, writing to social landlord to request new tenancies and supporting people through the justice system.
Contact our helpline on 0800 160 1985 or get in touch through our webchat if you or someone you know may need support.