WHEN people come to domestic abuse charity Shetland Women’s Aid looking for help, many are still living with their perpetrator.
The organisation supports women and their families in securing a new home, but a lack of dedicated storage space and transport has meant the process is not always simple.
But things are set to get a little bit smoother after Shetland Women’s Aid secured a new storage unit in Aith.
A recent request for a moving van, meanwhile, was met with plenty of interest from local removal companies.
Shetland Women’s Aid prevention education coordinator Abby Bisset said staff at the Lerwick-based charity have been “blown away” with how many people have said they are willing to help out.
She explained that Women’s Aid receive a steady stream of donations of high quality items to help clients who are being supported into new accommodation.
But staff were running out of time to deal with all of the contributions, and a lack of dedicated space meant that they were often having to house donations in their own homes.
For example Bisset said she has a doll’s house in her flat – whilst a colleague has two sofas in their garage.
“A lot of women that come to service are still living with their perpetrator,” Bisset explained.
“The first step of an action plan or a support plan is to try and get them their own house, and this is normally done through social housing – council housing or Hjaltland housing, and they’re really, really supportive.
“I think one thing that they’ve seen is that as lockdown left then there’s more and more women that are needing housing, because it kind of got paused through lockdown. So there’s this kind of influx.”
Bisset said on top of that there are women and families who are coming up from the mainland to get housed in Shetland, often with little belongings.
It also works the opposite way, with many women in Shetland feeling safer or more at home on the mainland.
“We’ll support them in their move and make sure everything goes smoothly,” Bisset said. “There’s always the need.”
She added that the Shetland community is always happy to donate items to assist with house moves.
“It’s really good quality stuff that people are giving up, and for free,” Bisset continued.
“We’ve been accepting a lot of these donations. But we’ve actually just got a storage unit from the Aith Community Co-op for a really good price. Big thanks to them for that. We no longer have to turn away donations.
“Previously it was our staff members that were having to go and pick them up or deliver them, and especially with increasing women needing help moving, then the staff just didn’t have the time.”
She said the prospect of a moving van is partly to take the pressure off the staff.
Bisset added that it was encouraging to see plenty of men with removal facilities getting in touch, showing it is “men against violence as well”.
Shetland Women’s Aid is the lead organisation in the isles working towards the prevention of domestic abuse. It can be contacted on 01595 692070, email@example.com or via social media.
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