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Press Release – Launch of the Scottish Women’s Rights Centre
FIRST EVER SPECIALIST LEGAL ADVICE SERVICE FOR SCOTTISH SURVIVORS OF GENDER BASED VIOLENCE
New Centre aims to improve access to justice for women in Scotland
The Scottish Women’s Rights Centre (SWRC) is being launched today to
ensure that women in Scotland who have or are experiencing gender based
violence are able to access timely and appropriate legal advice and
From today, women will be able to call the new centre’s helpline for
legal information and advice on any aspect of gender based violence.
The Centre is a partnership project between Rape Crisis Scotland, the
University of Strathclyde and the Legal Services Agency, with the
helpline staffed by volunteers from the University of Strathclyde Law
The SWRC also plans to develop a network of pro-bono solicitors to
offer drop in services in rape crisis centres across Scotland.
Rape Crisis Scotland spokeswoman Sandy Brindley said:
“Women in Scotland who have experienced rape, domestic abuse or any
other form of violence against women need access to free, specialist
legal advice and support.
“This could be to help make them aware of their rights to protective
orders in cases of domestic abuse and/or stalking, advice on housing
& welfare issues, or responding to queries about their role as a
witness following the report of a rape or sexual assault.
“We are delighted to be involved in the development of this exciting
new service, which we believe will make a significant difference to the
lives of women in Scotland”.
The Centre is being launched by Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs. Mr Wheelhouse said:
“Tackling the scourge of domestic abuse and sexual violence is a huge
priority for the Scottish Government. The helpline being introduced
today, backed by £215,000 of Scottish Government funding and
administered by the Scottish Legal Aid Board, will provide vital access
to advice and high quality legal assistance for those affected by these
horrendous crimes. Today’s launch comes on the back of our recent
announcement that £20 million will be made available over the next three
years to support domestic abuse survivors and improve their access to
“We are also protecting survivors by strengthening laws for victims
and vulnerable witnesses, and we are currently consulting on a specific
offence to tackle domestic abuse and measures to tackle sexual offences.
“Victims organisations, including Rape Crisis Scotland, play an
invaluable role in supporting victims in the aftermath of these
horrendous crimes, and I am so grateful to them for their hard work,
along with the University of Strathclyde and the Legal Services Agency,
in setting up this helpline to further strengthen the services for
survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence.”
Funding from the Scottish Legal Aid Board will cover the costs of a
full time solicitor for the Centre, who will be based within the Legal
Services Agency and will provide free legal advice and representation.
The Centre also receives funding from Foundation Scotland to cover the
costs of a part time Coordinator. Colin Lancaster, Deputy Chief
Executive and Director of Policy and Development at the Scottish Legal
Aid Board, said, “We are delighted the Scottish Government is funding
this project providing legal advice and representation to women affected
by a wide range of issues related to gender based violence.
“This, along with the projects we manage delivering money and debt
advice to women affected by domestic abuse under the Making Advice Work
programme, will contribute to our key aim of improving access to
The Centre also receives funding from Foundation Scotland to cover the costs of a part time Coordinator.
Kathleen Laverty from the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic commented:
“The Law Clinic is delighted to be part of the efforts to plug this
gap in legal provision. This is a much needed service and one which we
hope to develop and grow over time”
Kirsty Thomson Head of Women’s Project, Legal Services Agency said:
“The Legal Services Agency already provides legal advice to refugee
and migrant women affected by violence in Scotland. There has however
been no specific legal service dedicated to women affected by violence
within Scotland. This new centre redresses that gap, increases
protection for women and places Scotland at the forefront of legal
service provision in the area of women’s rights.”Note to Editors
The Scottish Women’s Rights Centre Helpline will run every Wednesday afternoon from 1.30pm – 4.30pm Tel: 08088 010 789
from 22 April 2015.
The Scottish Legal Aid Board is providing funding for a full time
solicitor, the training of volunteers to staff the helpline and other
related costs for the Centre. The solicitor will be based at the Legal
For any further information on the centre please contact Sandy Brindley at Rape Crisis Scotland on 07764167501 or email email@example.com