Scottish Women’s Aid is today (Wednesday) is urging MSPs to continue to protect vital services for women, children and young people living with domestic abuse. The charity believes that this will save more public money in the long term.
About half of all the women murdered in Scotland are killed by the partner or ex partner. In 2008/9 13 women were murdered by their partner or ex partner and each one resulted in lengthy, and costly, investigations and legal proceedings being carried out.
Scottish Women’s Aid manager Lily Greenan said: “We realise public expenditure has to be cut and that people will have to make sacrifices. But it would be a false economy to cut these specialist early interventions when we know the impact that domestic abuse has on public services in the longer term.”
This claim is backed by the Scottish Women’s Budget Group which launches a new briefing today highlighting the need to consider the gender equality implications when making financial decisions.
The Scottish Government will shortly be deciding on the details of the budget. Scottish Women’s Aid recommends that finance for the Violence Against Women sector should continue to be provided nationally.
“The Scottish Government has made a commitment to address violence against women so these services should be protected at a national level, rather than left for local authorities to deal with. That would leave women with a life and death postcode lottery.”
Scottish Women’s Aid will be gathering with a crowd of life-sized cardboard representations of women and children affected by violence outside the Scottish Parliament tomorrow (Thursday) at 10.45am. Speakers from all political parties have been invited to join Women’s Aid workers and other supporters.
The ‘crowd’ are going to be taken on tour and will appear at events around the country run by local Women’s Aid groups in Inverness, Perth, North Ayrshire, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
A briefing paper will be emailed to all MSPs and councillors in Scotland this evening (Wednesday).
Distributed to the media by Copytaker, on behalf of Scottish Women’s Aid
For more information contact Lily Greenan at Scottish Women’s Aid, firstname.lastname@example.org tel: 0131 226 6606, mobile: 07882692235
Notes for editors
1. The cost of dealing with a murder is estimated to be £170,097 and for serious wounding £9,190. Source: http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/housing/financialbenefitsresearch
2. Scottish Government funding streams which support Violence Against Women work will come to an end in March 2011. No decision has yet been taken on the
future of these funds. Currently, these funds amount to just over £8.3 million per year. This consists of the Rape Crisis Specific Fund – £700,000; Violence Against
Women Fund – £3,505,337; Children Services Women’s Aid Fund – £4,166,258
3. Scottish Women’s Aid (SWA) recommends that finance for the Violence Against Women sector be included in the Scottish Government’s Concordat with Scottish local authorities. Failure to do so could result in a breach of their legal obligations under the Gender Equality Duty and of the European Convention on Human Rights.
4. The duty to assess the impact of policies and practices in relation to gender had been a legal requirement since June 2007. The Scottish Government has statutory obligation to address gender-based violence under the Gender Equality Duty.
5. Members of the Scottish Women’s Budget Group, including Angela O’Hagan, AnneMeikle, Annie Donaldson and Carole Ewart have contributed to the briefing paper. For more about Scottish Women’s Budget Group check http://www.swbg.org.uk/
6. A recent study of 12 local authorities in Scotland conducted for the EHRC, reported a total of £4,108,782 spending on Violence Against Women projects (2008/09). This funded a range of activity including direct services (including refuges, counselling, advocacy work); training and awareness raising; supporting multi agency partnership work across the local authority area. Source: Counting the Cost’ ODS Consulting. Equality and Human Rights Commission Scotland. August 2010
7. Scottish Women’s Aid (SWA) is Scotland’s leading authority on violence against women. It plays a vital role campaigning and lobbying for effective responses to domestic abuse. SWA provides advice, information, training and publications. For more information check http://www.scottishwomensaid.org.uk/
Scottish Women’s Aid is a company limited by guarantee, registered company no SC128433 and a registered charity, charity number SC001099.
8. Copies of the SWBG briefing note to MSPs and the leaflet “We're here because we're not safe at home” which SWA will be handing to supporters at the Parliament, are available on request.
9. Additional background statistics
• In total 40 local, affiliated Women’s Aid groups around the country provide specialist services to women, children and young people. These include safe refuge accommodation, information, counselling, training and support. Last year approximately 5,5000 women were supported by Scottish Women’s Aid.
• In 2008/09 police recorded 53,681 incidents of domestic abuse of which 84% were against women.
• According to figures produced by Rape Crisis Scotland (http://www.rapecrisisscotland.org.uk) in 2008/09 963 rapes and attempted rapes and 6,331 crimes of indecency were reported to the police in Scotland.
• One third of teenage girls in a relationship suffer an unwanted sexual act. (‘Partner Exploitation and Violence in Teenage Intimate Relationships’ Barter, C. NSPCC, 2009)
• In a recent study by the Equality and Human Rights Commission ‘How Fair is Britain’, Equality and Human Rights Commission, Triennial Review Report (2010) under reporting was listed as a key issue particularly amongst women from ethnic and religious minority communities. Violent incidents were also under reported by disabled women, who are abused by, but dependent on, their carers.