Help for domestic abuse victims under lockdown

First minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed the latest coronavirus figures from Scotland

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Victims of domestic violence have been told not to hesitate to reach out if they are suffering at home under the coronavirus lockdown.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced today (March 31) that more than £1.5 million would be awarded to Scottish Women’s Aid and Rape Crisis from a £350 million communities fund which is starting to distribute grants.

Mrs Sturgeon told a news conference this lunchtime: ‘Everybody understands there is a real risk that women and children who are already subject to domestic abuse will feel even more isolated and vulnerable during this crisis.

‘This funding will help ensure they have access to support services and I want to ensure that people know that the Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage helpline remains fully operational at all hours during this epidemic.

‘Anyone who needs support or advice can email or web chat through the website or call them on 0800 027 1234.’

‘People who are suffering domestic abuse do not have to wait to seek help. That help is available now and you should not hesitate to come forward and get it,’ said Mrs Sturgeon.

The First Minister also revealed that the number of NHS staff off sick because of coronavirus amounts to just over six per cent of the workforce.

They either have symptoms of the virus or are self-isolating at home because someone in their household does.

Mr Sturgeon said the number was ‘relatively low’ and that the government expected the number of NHS staff to be affected to rise in the weeks to come.

‘We have now begun testing of key workers and as we continues to expand that capacity we will be able to get people back to work as quickly as possible,’ she said.

She said a further 13 people have died after testing positive for COVID-19 in Scotland bringing total in the country to 60.

There are 135 patients in intensive care a rise of 27 from yesterday (Monday March 30).