VSS extends critical financial aid for people affected by crime
Victim Support Scotland has today (7 October) announced its intention to increase investment in the Victims’ Fund, which is providing a financial lifeline to many vulnerable victims across the country.
Victim Support Scotland has successfully supported over 200 people during the pandemic who have been in urgent need of financial help, since April of this year.
Finances available through the Victims’ Fund have helped people by covering costs of security systems, rent for those escaping domestic abuse, mobile phones, funeral costs for bereaved families, and more.
Early this year, the Scottish Government increased its contributions to the Victims’ Fund to £100,000, to provide critical financial aid to vulnerable victims during the pandemic. Individuals and families can receive up to £3,000 for a wide range of goods and services to help them move forward after a crime.
Demand for the Victims’ Fund has been so great that the initial £100K has now been spent and Victim Support Scotland is committed to expanding it further, with a view to helping even more victims.
Kate Wallace, Chief Executive of Victim Support Scotland, said:
“It is an unfortunate reality that many of Scotland’s most vulnerable victims find themselves in financial destitution.
“The coronavirus pandemic has only exaggerated this already harsh reality for many. The Victims’ Fund has allowed us to provide critical financial support at the point of need for victims. I have heard direct feedback from recipients of support from the Victim’s Fund as to the lifechanging impact this has had on them, relieving them from difficult and often life-threatening situations.
“Victim Support Scotland will expand the Victims’ Fund with a view to supporting even more people affected by crime across Scotland. Our plan is to at least double the amount of investment that was put into the Victims’ Fund earlier this year over time, allowing us to continue to support people through the pandemic and beyond.”
Scotland’s Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said:
“The Victims’ Fund has enabled victims of crime to be able to quickly access support when they need it most, and has already helped hundreds of people across Scotland since lockdown.
“We know that for many victims of crime, such as those suffering from domestic abuse, the pandemic has exacerbated what was already a deeply worrying and stressful time.
“The increased value of the Victims’ Fund will mean more people will be able to access help for things like food shopping and utility bills, as well as practical assistance for domestic abuse victims who may have to urgently leave their homes.
“The Victims’ Fund is also 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, funeral costs, improved home security, and replacement windows, doors and furniture.”
The Victims’ Fund is open to any victim of any crime who is resident in Scotland currently accessing victim and other support services. It is also available for people who live outside of Scotland who have been bereaved by a crime that has occurred within Scotland.