COVID-19 Gender Based Violence Service Provision

Information regarding service provisions for victims/survivors of gender based violence. Please note all services are still taking referrals and maintaining support with respect to protecting public health.

Scottish Borders Rape Crisis Centre

As far as possible we will operate as normal, all staff are now based at home.

Support Offered

  • phone and Zoom support sessions will replace in person support sessions
  • text, email and phone support to keep in touch with those who need additional support and for those on our waiting lists
  • we will continue to accept new referrals

Contact details for all services

  • phone: 01896 661070
  • phone/text: 07584 149391
  • email:
  • opening hours: Monday to Friday 9am-4.30pm

Our services


Emotional and practical, support, information and advocacy for self identifying female survivors aged 18 plus, who have experienced any form of sexual violence at any time in their lives.


Emotional and practical, support, information and advocacy for all young people of any gender/gender identity aged between 12-18, who have experienced any form of sexual violence at any time in their lives.

Support and Advocacy

For survivors who have engaged or are considering engaging with the criminal justice system following a sexual crime. This service is available to survivors who have experienced recent and historical sexual violence.

Support for friends, families and non-offending partners

One or two support sessions. The sessions will be provided by a worker who is not supporting the survivor, this is to maintain the survivor’s confidentiality.

Crisis Support

Survivors accessing Sunrise or Unity who are actively suicidal, i.e. who are making plans to end their life or who have had a recent suicide attempt will be offered 6 crisis support sessions. The support sessions will focus on safety planning and developing coping strategies to help the survivor to manage their emotions and distress.  

Once the 6 sessions have ended the survivor will be added to the waiting list for further support.

Domestic Abuse Advocacy Support Service/Domestic Abuse Outreach Service

The service will continue to be delivered as normal, with staff working from home (when a decision is made corporately). If the capacity of the team changes then the priority of client contact will change, and referrers are encouraged to continue to submit referrals, VPD’s etc. Opening hours remain the same, but there will be no face to face contact for the foreseeable future. All non-essential travel and non-critical meetings are cancelled, however priority will be given to responding to child/adult protection requirements.

Safe Housing Options

Safer Housing Options will carry out all contact and assessment via phone, if necessary, works will be carried out within properties, ensuring that both client and tradesperson are safe within this process. All other work, in terms of safer housing, will continue in line with our partner agencies guidance to ensure everyone’s safety.


Alternative arrangements for the MARAC process have been circulated but the referral process remains the same, including the required timelines for referrals and circulation of Referral List. All MARAC reps have been contacted with a Briefing outlining the process for April, this will be reviewed by the end of April and changed/continued if required.

Border Women’s Aid

Office cover arranged from Monday to Friday 9am-4.30pm.

Our office phone line is being diverted to staff mobiles while we are working from home.

Plans for refuge are:

  • only women and children from Scottish Borders would be considered
  • the COVID-19 screening questions would need to be answered with no
  • we will only have one woman/family in each side of refuge to lessen the risk of passing on the virus, the houses have been seperated to accomodate this
  • transport to refuge would need to be carefully considered

Housing and Homelessness

Registered Social Landlords are providing support re housing as business as usual with the exception of asking clients about any self-isolations etc that we need to be aware of.

  • Waverley - closed to the public
  • BHA - closed to the public
  • SBHA - all officers working from home, offices remain open
  • Eildon - offices remain open at the moment, a number of staff are working from home

Homeless interviews are being carried out over the phone where possible. If this is not possible, or safe, and the client is showing no signs of the virus the team still do have the provision to see them face to face, although this would be a last resort type of situation.

Children1st Scottish Borders

At the moment we are offering choice to individuals and families about how they want to connect with us. Face to face support if it is safe taking the additional precautions or phone support. We are also exploring video chat.

The sessions we do with children are mostly in schools so we are able to continue to offer those where we can as long as it is safe, we’ve offered the choice to parents and whilst the schools are still open. 

The team are now working from home. Individual team members emails will be circulated in due course.

Open letter from Minister

Read the open letter from Kevin Stewart, Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning to social housing tenants in Scotland. You can also download a large print version.