New funding will provide additional legal support for women

New cash will help legal support service for women to expand.
New cash will help legal support service for women to expand.

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT FOR Moray and Highlands victims of gender-based violence is to be provided by the Scottish Government.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson has said that £665,000 is to be provided over the next two years, allowing the Scottish Women’s Rights Centre (SWRC) to significantly increase its legal team.

SWRC has been providing direct legal support for victims in Glasgow and Lanarkshire – but with the new funding will, for the first time, be able to extend into other areas.

The Centre is a partnership project between Rape Crisis Scotland, the University of Strathclyde and the Legal Services Agency, with students from the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic providing additional legal support.

The SWRC will employ a new full time advocacy support worker, focusing on the needs of the women who access the service, and the centre’s helpline will increase its hours to ensure that women have more options available to them to seek legal information and advice on any aspect of gender based violence.

Mr Matheson said: “The Scottish Women’s Rights Centre, which recently celebrated its first year of operation, is an excellent example of how drawing together many specialist groups can offer those who have suffered violence the widest range of advice and support needed.

“Different areas of Scotland have different needs, for example, rural locations can have geographical barriers to accessing otherwise mainstream services and this additional £665,000 funding will help us reach more women across Scotland.

“I am also delighted that the centre will be able to recruit a full-time specialist advocacy support worker who will be able to provide much needed support to women who may require more than just legal solutions to their circumstances.

“All of the groups involved in the centre play an invaluable role in supporting victims to come to terms with the aftermath of horrendous crimes and I am grateful to them for their hard work and continued efforts to strengthen the services for survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence in Scotland.”

Marsha Scott, Chief Executive of Scottish Women’s Aid and member of the SWRC’s Advisory Group, added: “Scottish Women’s Aid is absolutely delighted that the Scottish Government is increasing funding to Scottish Women’s Rights Centre (SWRC).

“SWRC is an innovative, thinking-out-of-the-box response to the problem of women’s lack of access to competent and affordable legal services when they experience domestic and or sexual violence. Clearly this expansion out of the central belt allows us to look at the model in new settings, a very welcome development that will allow us to design services fit for women across Scotland.

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