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SRC Thanks Government for Increased Support

Grants from the Scottish Government’s Communities Fund have been made to Rape Crisis Scotland and Scottish Women's Aid to ensure that access to these key support services is maintained and victims still have access to methods of reporting crimes during the crisis, including using online video platforms, text messaging and phone calls.

Scottish Women’s Aid will receive £1.35 million over six months and Rape Crisis Scotland will receive £226,309 over six months.

Lisa Ward, Service Manager at Shetland Rape Crisis said:

"Early last week Shetland Rape Crisis outlined our projected needs to the Scottish Government via Rape Crisis Scotland, and we are very grateful that they have recognised this need and responded to promptly to help us continue delivering free information, advocacy and support to survivors of sexual violence in Shetland."

"This funding will enable us to deliver our service in a way that is accessible, safe, secure and confidential, despite being delivered remotely and from workers’ homes, which can be quite challenging in this line of work."

This money will go towards essentials in the coming months such as upgrades to secure GDPR-compliant video conferencing software, appropriate and secure infrastructure for home-working such as laptops, phones, headsets, printers, scanners, etc and secure storage for confidential files being temporarily kept in home offices.

Staff hours will also be upped over the next six months in order to meet a projected increase in demand for the service.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said:

“We want women and children experiencing domestic abuse in the home to know that although they may feel isolated and vulnerable during these unprecedented times, they are not alone. Anyone experiencing violence, including coercive and controlling behaviours, should not feel in any way inhibited by the current coronavirus outbreak to report a crime against them... If you are experiencing abuse – please do not feel you have wait to receive vital support. This is available now.”

The Scottish Government has also provided an additional £825,000 to Police Scotland to support the training of officers and frontline staff to respond to and investigate the new domestic abuse offence.

Demand for the service in Shetland is expected to increase over the coming months for a number of reasons.

We know that the vast majority of people who experience sexual violence are affected by someone known to them, quite often within their own family or by their own partner/spouse. This means that some people in Shetland are currently stuck at home with their perpetrators for prolonged spells, at a time where anxiety and stress is high for everyone meaning that some perpetrators are even more likely to offend, and to offend with more violence. This is incredibly difficult for survivors.

We are also acutely aware of the risk for children at home with their perpetrators. Childhood sexual abuse is a significant problem in Shetland and our stats show that around 40% of our clients first experienced sexual violence under the age of 16. With schools closed and children and young people at home, the opportunity for perpetrators to offend is increased.

In addition, even for survivors whose immediate home situation is safe, the lack of access to normal coping mechanisms and stabilising factors such as spending time with friends and family, working alongside others, working out at the gym, and other group hobbies and clubs, means that people will be struggling with their mental health and experiencing more symptoms of trauma such as flashbacks, anxiety, and dissociation.

If any of this sounds familiar, we would encourage you to contact Shetland Rape Crisis.

We are still here for you. We believe you. We support you. Get in touch.

Centre Hours: Mon-Thurs 9am-1.30pm

Centre Number: 01595 747 174

RCS Helpline: 08088 01 03 02 (6pm-midnight)

Email: contact@shetlandrapecrisis.scot

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