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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Vital women’s support services face axe

This news post is about 9 years old

​Widespread cuts by Scottish councils means vital Women's Aid services face the axe

Serious cuts to funding for local women's aid groups will leave women and children at risk of violence, Scottish Women’s Aid has warned.

Two groups in West Dunbartonshire have already lost specialist support funding while there are also concerns about the sustainability of three groups in North Lanarkshire, North Ayrshire and Fife.

The national support body has highlighted the cuts that have come after Scotland’s councils set their budgets for the financial year ahead.

SWA manager Lily Greenan warned: "The funding is broadly precarious or at risk across the country. The issues are different in different parts of the country.

“Across Scotland on average 500 new women are supported by Women's Aid groups.

“It adds up to more than 25,000 women making contact with services for the first time over the course of a year.

“Most women come in to refuges with children and most come in with two children.

She added: "Services are already at the wire. At one level the cuts are understandable but this is deeply concerning.”

The cuts are so serious one group – Clydebank Women’s Aid – has launched an online petition and is planning a demonstration outside council offices on 4 February when the council meets to ratify its budget proposals.

The group is currently facing a £191,000 shortfall because of proposed cuts by West Dunbartonshire Council.

This could ultimately result in the closure of all Women's Aid refuges in West Dunbartonshire

Yet the 34- year old organisation supported nearly 700 women last year.

In a letter the council suggested that it could merge with the region’s other group - Dumbarton District Women’s Aid.

However no extra cash would be made available by the council to make this move.

The letter states: “The Community, Health and Care Partnership is not in a position to identify future funding for what was identified by Women’s Aid as the ‘care’ element of their service provision.

“This means that there are no further funding opportunities available from the council for future years.”

A spokeswoman for Clydebank Women’s Aid said: “The council is saying they will pay for the building but not the support.

“The women who come to us are in crisis situations and have left in fear of their lives. We want to provide them with specialist skills and services to help them to start to understand their situation and begin that recovery. It can take years.”

A spokeswoman for the council said: “The council has historically supported vulnerable women in West Dunbartonshire as part of its homelessness responsibilities.

“Given the financial challenges facing all councils, West Dunbartonshire is no longer in a position to fund what was previously identified by Women’s Aid as the ‘care’ element of their service.”

Across the whole of Scotland there were more than 60,000 incidents of domestic abuse recorded by police in Scotland in 2012-13, an increase of almost 20,000 since 2003.

A spokeswoman for Dumbarton District Women's Aid said the severity of the cuts proposed will decimate the provision of safe refuge in West Dunbartonshire.

“This could ultimately result in the closure of all Women's Aid refuges in West Dunbartonshire,” she added.

"Effectively, this means there could be no Women's Aid refuge services in the whole of West Dunbartonshire. The impact will directly affect women, children and young people."

The Scottish Government responded by saying it had provided £34.5 million funding over 2012-15 to tackle violence against women, including domestic abuse.

A spokesman added: “We expect local authorities, in taking any decisions on how they see services being delivered, to take into account the needs of those who use these services, regardless of the model of delivery they choose.”



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about 9 years ago
this is shocking news and saddens me to hear as I personally know how vital the service is to those who need to access the service.
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