News

Victims’ Fund extends its reach to women in Commercial Sexual Exploitation

16 June, 2021

Victim Support Scotland has for many years provided financial assistance at the point of need to those suffering financial destitution as the result of a crime.

Throughout the pandemic, Victim Support Scotland provided £280,000 in financial assistance through our Victims’ Fund, reaching more than 800 people and their families affected by crime.

Many of the people we support have reported that this assistance can be life-changing and lifesaving.

In the Spring of 2020, we received additional funding from the Scottish Government extending the existing funds from £30,000 to £100,00. On top of this, in March 2021 the Scottish Government provide us – alongside another five organisations – additional funds through the Victims’ Surcharge Fund drawn from financial levies on all offenders who receive a court fine.

As Scotland’s leading charity dedicated to providing support to everyone affected by crime, we are pleased that today (Wednesday 16 June 2021) the Scottish Government has announced its commitment to support women involved in prostitution through a number of different awards presented to support organisations throughout Scotland.

The Victims’ Fund will therefore receive an additional £30,000 of funds to ensure continued availability for crisis funding for women engaged in Commercial Sexual Exploitation in the financial year 2021/22.

Through our existing processes and expertise, Victim Support Scotland will work closely with other support agencies to ensure that funds are made available at the point of need to directly support those women most in need of financial assistance.

During the pandemic, the Victims’ Fund has been a lifeline for many and last year alone £280K of support was provided by Victim Support Scotland to over 800 women, men and children affected by crime in Scotland.

The Victims’ Fund has prevented many victims in precarious situations from becoming destitute by provided much needed clothing, food vouchers, housing costs and other essential items.

Kate Wallace, Chief Executive of Victim Support Scotland

Kate Wallace, CEO of Victim Support Scotland, comments:

“As Scotland’s leading charity dedicated to supporting everyone affected by crime, Victim Support Scotland has built strong relationships with partner organisations to ensure that financial support reaches all those who need it. This has included those supporting women who sell or exchange sex.

“Through the Victims’ Fund, we have provided financial support at the point of need to all victims of all crime types experiencing financial hardship as a result of what they have been through. During the pandemic, this support has been a lifeline for many and last year alone £280K of support was provided by Victim Support Scotland to over 800 women, men and children affected by crime in Scotland. The Victims’ Fund has prevented many victims in precarious situations from becoming destitute by provided much needed clothing, food vouchers, housing costs and other essential items.

“With today’s announcement, we are looking forward to building on these partnerships and welcoming applications from all organisations supporting women who sell or exchange sex to ensure they can continue to access this vital support.”

Zara Wynn, a Women’s Support Worker, commented:

“I have supported women access the Victims’ Fund over the past year. Many of them had fallen quickly into arrears with rent and bills and had entered into a state of panic as there was no details of when their financial crisis would end. They couldn’t request help from the Government with loss of earnings, didn’t necessarily qualify for benefits that would enable them to pay for their normal monthly outgoings for them and their families and many did not want to approach the benefits agency.

“The support from the Victims’ Fund enabled women to contribute something to their rapidly mounting debt which alleviated a small part of their stress. Many appreciated being able to share their worry with a support worker and for some women this was their first opportunity to talk about their involvement in prostitution. The Victims’ Fund is ideal to support women bridge gaps and for those who want to exit – it could be vital to support in the transition period between involvement in prostitution and finding alternatives.”

For more details see the Scottish Government website

Victim Support Scotland is here to help anyone affected by crime. If you need support, please contact us via our helpline (0800 160 1985), our webchat service or our contact form.