Dundee Women’s Aid have revealed they expect to see a surge in demand as the economic impact of lockdown-easing emerges.
The agency, which tackled an increase in people fleeing domestic abuse during lockdown, said it is a “complete unknown” how much a second wave will impact the charity at this stage.
For over 40 years Dundee Women’s Aid has supported women, children and young people who are experiencing domestic abuse through a range of services including information, support and temporary refuge accommodation.
Michelle Whitelaw, board member at Dundee Women’s Aid, said: “In Dundee we already had significant demand on our services prior to the lockdown.
“We do expect to see this increase as things ease. We are well versed in having to be reactive to situations and demand, this is something that we see at different points in the year and therefore we will manage the demand on services and resources to meet the increased demand.
“How this impacts us and the resources we have is unknown at this stage as we move towards further easing of restrictions.”
Michelle also explained that vacancies and the need for accommodation at their centres often changes from day to day – even at a moment’s notice.
She said: “In any day you may have a number of refuges available, and then, a waiting list overnight and full capacity in our refuges.
“The demand for refuge has increased throughout the lockdown period and the further impact on refuges may be more prevalent post-lockdown where we see more austerity and the economic downturn that places even more pressure on families who are already living within an unstable domestic environment.
“We are in a complete unknown at present.”
The charity’s board is working hard to ensure future funding is secured for the organisation, which is vital for many women and young people within Dundee.
Michelle added: “Third sector organisations are already feeling the impact on funding as we move through the unknowns of the economic impact of Covid-19.
“We are no different, however, our funding has not been reliant on some of the major fundraising events that are a lifeline to many charity organisations.
“Our service is vital to the city of Dundee and we are always looking closely at how we protect the charity and future funding.
“We do however have a very experienced team who lead this within the organisation, led by Mary Miller, along with a multi-skilled board of directors who have all worked together strategically throughout what has been unprecedented times and they will continue to do so.
“This is a real strength within DWA.”