More than 1,000 women and children across Scotland are supported by Women’s Aid on any given day, the charity has revealed.
It is marking International Women’s Day on Sunday by publishing a report detailing its work to help those affected by domestic abuse.
It said the vast majority (84%) of Women’s Aid groups have to operate waiting lists of up to six months for at least one of their services.
Scottish Women’s Aid (SWA) said more than half of its services were forced to operate a waiting list for refuge spaces in 2018-19, and it is urging the Scottish Government and councils to “do their part” and provide enough cash so anyone who needs help can access it without having to wait.
On one day in 2019, Women’s Aid was unable to provide accommodation for 58% of the women and 38% of the children and young people seeking refuge, the report said.
Also on a single day last year, 1,235 women, children and young people contacted a Women’s Aid service – with 101 of them seeking help for the first time.
The charity, which has 38 local groups working from Shetland to Stranraer, said despite year-on-year increases in demand for help, “funding for our specialist services is insufficient due to funding cuts, freezes, and the nature of short-term, precarious funding”.
Scottish Government statistics show that in 2018-19, there were 60,641 incidents of domestic abuse recorded by police in Scotland – but the Women’s Aid report stresses that “most domestic abuse is not reported to the police”.
It said more than 1,000 women, children and young people receive support from Women’s Aid on any given day, but 79% of its services have either received no increase in funding or have seen funding cut – on average by 10%.
The report highlights a “stark increase in the waiting time for women and children to access a refuge”.
It added: “This means that women and children forced to leave their home because of domestic abuse are left without a safe place to go.”
Ash Kuloo, member services manager at SWA, said: “It is women, children and young people experiencing domestic abuse who bear the brunt of cuts to funding.
“It is their safety and survival that lies behind these statistics and every increased waiting list means another person not getting the vital support they need, at the time they need it.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We are absolutely committed to tackling all forms of domestic abuse and violence against women and girls, and ensuring that victims receive the support they need.
“We are working with Cosla and key partners to implement our Equally Safe strategy across Scotland.”
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