MORE than 90 per cent of projects aimed at tackling violence against women and children are facing cuts in Scottish Government funding, according to Scottish Parliament researchers.
Government grants to schemes battling domestic abuse fell by more than £1 million in real terms between 2015/16 and 2016/17, the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (Spice) has said.
The data shows the drop in real terms, accounting for inflation, is around £1,290,000 while the fall in cash terms is £1,109,161, but the Scottish Government denies the projects have had their funding cut and claims record levels of investment in tackling violence against women.
Real terms funding fell between 2015/16 and the following financial year for 131 of the 142 projects receiving grants, the figures revealed in correspondence between Spice and Scottish Labour reveal.
The party’s justice spokeswoman Claire Baker called on the Scottish Government to “rethink these cuts”.
She said: “Domestic abuse is a violent and psychological crime that can devastate families across the country. There is no place for it in Scotland and it is right that we maintain a zero-tolerance approach.
“We know that vital services that help women and children who face horrific attacks and violence are already struggling with the insecurity of year-on-year funding. That is why we called for the introduction of three-year funding for such projects.
“However what we can now see is that these projects are also facing dangerous cuts and this will directly impact on those that need our help and support in fleeing abusive and violent relationships.
“We know that the Christmas period can lead to a rise in domestic abuse incidents and the Scottish Government must now show its commitment to tackling this by rethinking these cuts and ensuring support for existing and future projects.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “It is simply not true to say these projects have received funding cuts. We are investing record levels of funding to tackle violence against women.
“Alongside nearly £12 million per year since 2012 from the equality budget, last year the First Minister announced an additional £20 million would also be invested by the Scottish Government to help our commitment to tackle and eradicate all forms of violence against women.
“Local specialist services do hugely important work and we value the support they provide to women and children experiencing violence and abuse. We are committed to introducing long-term funding for such services when we are in a position to do so.”
He said domestic abuse is an “abhorrent and inexcusable crime” and next year the Government plans to take forward its Equally Safe strategy to protect women and girls from violence, as well as creating a new offence criminalising psychological abuse as well as physical abuse.