Victims’ Fund gets a £70,000 boost during the Coronavirus pandemic
The Scottish Government has increased the Victims’ Fund, administered by Victim Support Scotland, to £100,000 to help victims affected by the Coronavirus outbreak.
People affected by crime, during the COVID-19 pandemic, will be able to access assistance worth up to £3,000, for a wide range of goods and services where they have no other access to funds.
A range of victim support organisations, including Victim Support Scotland, have discussed with the Scottish Government the immediate and potential impact of the current national crisis and public health response. Certain crime types are expected to rise due to isolation measures, and this fund aims to help the most vulnerable victims of crime.
Victim Support Scotland (VSS) already provides financial support totalling £30,000 a year through the Scottish Government-backed Victims’ Fund. The Scottish Government has increased the size of the fund for the new financial year by £70,000. The fund is available to victims supported by other organisations as well as VSS.
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said:
“While overall crime, including non-sexual violent crime, has fallen substantially over the last decade, we know that those living in our most disadvantaged communities are more likely to experience crime.
“That is why I’ve decided to increase our investment in the Victims’ Fund and help deliver a range of goods and services which are likely to be required by the most vulnerable victims during the outbreak. This includes support such as food vouchers, help with utility bills, as well as assistance for domestic abuse victims who may have to urgently leave their homes.
“The fund will also be able to help with other costs which have arisen as a direct result of being a victim of crime such as contributions towards insurance excesses, improved home security, and replacement windows, doors and furniture.”
Kate Wallace, Chief Executive of Victim Support Scotland, said:
“The increase to the Victims’ Fund is hugely beneficial at this time when people are social distancing, self-isolating and spending more time online. Isolation, in particular, can impact people affected by crime as their support networks may not be available in the same ways as before. We expect certain crime types to rise, such as fraud, cybercrime, stalking and domestic, child and elderly abuse. The fund will allow us to be adaptive and responsive to individual victims’ needs.
“These are challenging times which have the potential to greatly affect victims. Victim Support Scotland is committed to providing practical help and emotional support to anyone affected by crime during the Coronavirus outbreak and has increased helpline and webchat services. We encourage anyone who needs support to get in touch.”