Highland Violence Against Women Partnership (HVAWP) wants to ensure that anyone who is a victim of domestic abuse or gender-based violence gets the help they need during the coronavirus pandemic.
The partnership is fully behind the Scottish Government’s recently relaunched campaign against domestic abuse and its message that even during these unprecedented times that support services are there for those who need it.
Tackling domestic abuse and gender-based violence remains a priority for each and every member of the HVAW partnership, which includes Highland Council, Police Scotland, NHS Highland and local Women’s Aid organisations and RASASH (Rape and Sexual Abuse Service Highland).
The partner agencies continue to monitor the impact the current lockdown measures may be having on families. Even in these difficult times the partnership is committed to continuing to offer their services to safeguard the welfare of women and children.
New guidance has also been announced for social landlords around domestic abuse and Coronavirus which has been developed by the Chartered Institute of Housing, Scottish Women’s Aid and engagement from COSLA.
The report highlights what social landlords can do to support women and children experiencing domestic abuse.
Chair of the Highland Violence Against Women Partnership, Jacquelyn Jennett, said: “The lockdown dictates that we must all stay at home where possible, but for many women and children in the Highlands home is not a safe place to be”.
“This is a particularly difficult time for women and children suffering from domestic violence as they will have reduced contact with supportive friends, families, communities and services”.
“Experts have warned that pandemics have been linked to increased violence against women and children. When mobility is limited and social distancing measures are in place, economic vulnerability increases, legal and social services are scaled back and challenges in escaping abusive partners can be exacerbated.”
Detective Chief Inspector Richard Baird of Police Scotland, Highland and Islands Division added “To all those who are living through lockdown in abusive relationships our message is clear. Please do not be put off reporting domestic violence including coercive and controlling behaviour during the current Coronavirus outbreak. Police across Highland and Islands are ready and able to respond to ensure your safety”
While current measures exist Highland Women’s Aid Groups are continuing to provide outreach services and refuge accommodation to women, children and young people experiencing domestic abuse. They provide specialised safety planning, support planning, advocacy, emotional and practical support tailored to individual needs.
Their teams support clients by phone, text, email and social media, and continue to accept new referrals from women, children, young people and partner agencies.
Inverness Women’s Aid
Telephone: 01463 220719
Facebook page (Inverness Women’s Aid)
Ross-Shire, Skye & Lochalsh Women’s Aid
Additional advice and information is also available from Scotland’s 24 hour Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline on 0800 027 1234; www.womensaid.scot/contact/#helpline.
Specialist advice about legal issues and rights is available from the Scottish Women’s Rights Centre on 08088 010 789; www.scottishwomensrightscentre.org.uk
RASASH (Rape and Sexual Abuse Service Highland) continue to offer support to survivors of rape, sexual violence and childhood sexual abuse whether recent or historic to anyone aged 13+ and RASASH will continue to take new self-referrals via the support line for when its ongoing support sessions resume.
RASASH advocacy staff will continue to provide information about the criminal justice system and will move to working in a focused way on individual tasks with people in order to accommodate the increase in need they foresee for medical advocacy. RASASH will also be increasing its social media presence to provide information on coping in a crisis and to share messages of connection in a time where many are isolated.
Support Services 9.30 – 12.30 and 1.30 – 4.30 Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and Wednesday`s 9.30am till 12.30pm
Telephone on: 03330 066 909 and Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
New text support service: 07451 288 080
You can also contact Police Scotland on 101 for non-emergencies and 999 for emergency situations.