The Minister for Older People and Equalities met with staff from Ross-shire Women's Aid yesterday (Tuesday 16 July.)
Christina McKelvie MSP discussed the impact of domestic abuse on women and children; how limited after-school care, nursery provision and holiday activities on the island that present problems for working woman; the lack of mental health resources and access to health services in general for adults and children; limited specialist resources within education and how the ASN provision cuts will impact needs; vulnerability of women working in small businesses alongside their partners; limited private rental market which impacts on women’s ability to move and separate from their abuser; further NHS funding cuts.
So far this year, Skye and Lochalsh Women’s Aid service has provided 535 hours of women support and 285 hours of children support, seeing 62 clients through the service for one-to-one support, information and advice, group support, advocacy and safe accommodation.
Visiting Portree Women’s Aid, Equalities Minister Christina McKelvie said: “Our vision is of a strong and flourishing Scotland where all individuals are equally safe and respected. That can only happen where women and girls live free from all forms of violence and abuse. This includes changing the attitudes that allow this harm to happen.”
“It has been inspiring to see the difference Portree Women’s Aid is making and their work addressing the unique challenges faced by rural communities in innovative and creative ways. It gives meaning to the money we have provided in the past year to support their work across the region, including Skye and Lochalsh.”
Adele Newlands, Manager for Ross-shire Women’s Aid said: “It was an honour to have the Equalities Minister with us today to share with her the life-changing, life-saving work we are doing. The challenges of offering a service such as this in Skye and Lochalsh can be difficult but not a service that should be ignored. We want people to understand the ways we can help them towards living a life free from abuse. We appreciate the Minister taking the time to understand our difficulties from lack of services and support offered on the island, from children’s provision, housing and transport issues, confidentiality matters and funding cuts. We hope to continue to be supported within the community and from future funders to enable us to grow and develop this much needed service further.
"We have some exciting opportunities to develop our service further with the addition of a Young Persons Worker, we are looking to offer ‘drop in sessions’ in schools, colleges, community centres; develop a more robust schools programme to raise awareness and deliver further training on domestic abuse for services.
"We believe rural communities can benefit from a broad awareness of domestic abuse and the issues and dynamics surrounding this. We want everyone to recognise the symptoms of domestic violence, believe women who report violent or controlling behaviour and remain a community where your neighbour is a friend.”
If you believe a women to be the victim of domestic abuse you can provide a lifeline to this women and encourage her to get support by contacting:
Skye and Lochalsh office: 01478 613 365
Dingwall office: 01349 863 568