7. Requests for general support
As Scotland moved from lockdown into Phases 1 and 2, many services reported that clients were facing increasing economic/financial challenges. In particular, services reported an increase in engagement related to victims accessing fuel, food and essentials for children. Some services report increased applications to destitution resources and many specialist VAWG organisations continued to resource outreach services that delivered food and fuel vouchers, food parcels, toiletries, essentials for children, and other financial assistance to victims.
Some organisation set up services offering small grants to victims in financial crisis, for which demand was high. Victim Support Scotland's 'Victims Fund' was referred to by a number of organisations in supporting victims. Similarly, the Encompass Network's Fund, set up to support women in or exiting prostitution who were in crisis was described by services as a "lifesaver" for many of these women. Some organisations diverted specialist domestic abuse staff to crisis roles to cope with the demand for these services.
The accessibility of housing varied across local authority areas in Scotland. During Phases 1 and 2, some services reported there were fewer temporary housing options for clients fleeing domestic abuse, particularly for those who did not want to present as homeless. Services from one local authority area reported significant challenges, with some victims having been housed in hotels for the duration of lockdown and the subsequent Phases, some in inappropriate accommodation for periods of time, and significant delays for others. One service reported the local refuges were full and this limited the options available for women fleeing abuse. Some service managers also reported that some housing associations continued to request evidence of clients' high risk prior to facilitating housing moves. By contrast, some local authority areas reported the housing response to families fleeing abuse had been fast and coordinated, with some councils bypassing temporary accommodation and housing families directly into permanent accommodation, and others rehousing families within 1 to 2 days.