7. Requests for general support
Compared with the period of lockdown and earlier Phases, there were fewer reports of victim/survivors requesting support to access food, toiletries, clothing or other basic needs during Phase 3. One organisation observed that the advancements in knowledge of Coronavirus and track and trace technologies meant fewer clients were being advised to self-isolate unnecessarily and so adults living alone were less restricted in accessing their basic needs.
Some specialist domestic abuse services continued to offer general support to some clients who were facing challenges, particularly in terms of providing information. Service managers noted that Independent Domestic Abuse Advocates (IDAAs) spent increased time during support calls providing advice on local lockdown measures and/or national restrictions as clients asked questions about what activities and engagements were permitted.
Previous research by JAS reported on the value and need for destitution funds and resources for women and children during the Coronavirus crisis. Organisations continued to note the need for such funds and provide empirical examples of how the fund had benefited victims during Phase 3. One service manager communicated that the ability to provide women with what they needed had been advantageous for clients but also rewarding for staff, who felt a high level of job satisfaction from being able to meet families' needs.
Victim Support Scotland's Victims' Fund was re-funded due to an identified need to support victims experiencing financial destitution. One service manager noted an increase in applications to the Victims' Fund that cited the impact of coercive control, specifically financial/economic abuse as justification for the application. The Encompass Fund, to support women involved in or exiting prostitution, was extended to September 2020. The Encompass Fund amended its application process slightly during this period in order to pay women small grants directly, as it was recognised some women involved in prostitution did not feel safe providing their personal details and were concerned about privacy, particularly in cases where grants to assist with rent arrears were being paid directly to landlords or housing associations rather than the women themselves.