Victim Support Scotland supports 16 days of action against gender-based violence

25 November, 2021

16 Days of Action is an awareness raising campaign against domestic abuse and gender-based violence that runs from 25 November until the 10 December.

As the world reopens following over a year of coronavirus lockdowns, the 16 Days of Action campaign is more important than ever.

In 2019-20 there were over 62,000 incidents of domestic abuse in Scotland, an increase of 4% on the previous year. Police Scotland have said that domestic abuse is the single greatest demand of their time, with officers responding to such incidents every nine minutes.

Kate Wallace, Chief Executive of VSS, said: “We fully support the 16 Days of Action campaign against gender-based violence. Following the coronavirus pandemic, this campaign has never been more needed.

“With reports of domestic abuse increasing, we are here for anyone experiencing any form of abuse, whether that is physical, emotional, or psychological, regardless if someone has spoken to the police or not. We provide confidential emotional support to empower anyone who may find themselves in an abusive situation, until they may be ready to take the next steps.

“Almost 90 percent of abuse victims experience financial abuse as an aspect of coercive control. Our Victims’ Fund can help people in these situations to purchase, for example, finance security systems, furniture for temporary housing, and household essentials for anyone escaping abuse.

“Victim Support Scotland is committed to supporting those who have experienced domestic abuse, and to help them realise they are not alone.”

Domestic abuse comes in many forms, and this has been reflected in the most recent law change in Scotland:

The Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018

The Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 was implemented on the 1st April 2019, making emotional and psychological abuse a criminal offence.

Victim Support Scotland works with partner organisations such as the Scottish Government and Police Scotland to raise public awareness and understanding of the different types of domestic abuse, and how it may not always be physical. The campaign encourages more victims to report incidents and seek support.

The new law acknowledges the effect that psychological and emotional abuse can have on someone and their family, especially if children are involved in the abuse – with this reflected in sentencing.

The shadow pandemic

Reports of domestic abuse have increased globally, led the United Nations to acknowledge the increase as the ‘shadow pandemic’.

Scottish Government research found that services across Scotland saw significant increased referral rates towards the end of 2020 during the government’s route-map out of coronavirus.

Services across Scotland report that due to social isolation and restrictions across the country, their support workers are less likely to be able to detect ‘coercive and controlling behaviour’, such as controlling access to money, food, medication, and smart devices.

The report also highlights how the pandemic and regular restrictions make it more difficult for those fleeing an abusive household to find safe accommodation.

Victims of domestic abuse and gender-based violence report feeling the significant impact of delays to court cases caused by the pandemic, increasing levels of ‘stress, anxiety levels and risk of harm from perpetrators.’

The Victims Fund

Victim Support Scotland is here to support anyone who may be affected by domestic abuse, whether or not a crime has been recorded to the police.

Our Victims Fund can support anyone who may be fleeing abuse and find themselves needing financial support.

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.

We are just one of many organisations that support those experiencing domestic abuse. To find out more, click below: