To mark the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, Scottish Soroptimists launched the Tartan Ribbon Fund at Airth Castle, Falkirk on 20th March.
The fundraising lunch was organised by Soroptimists Brenda Kay and Janice Wilson, to increase awareness of violence against women and raise funds for Scottish Police Forces, to enable them to buy Skyguard personal safety alarms for women at risk from abuse.
Guest speakers at event included Rhoda Grant MSP, who introduced the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill at Holyrood; Assistant Chief Constable Angela Wilson from Tayside Police; and Patrick Dealtry, co-founder of Skyguard Ltd.
Asst Chief Constable Angela Wilson told the audience that most incidents of domestic abuse still go unreported and of those that are reported the victims often experience up to 37 assaults before turning to the authorities. She said, “Many of the incidents of abuse result in the most appalling acts of violence….Most distressingly of all is the fact that in most of these domestic incidents children often witness or are victims of the abuse.”
But the audience did hear some positive news surrounding combating domestic violence. Rhoda Grant, MSP talked through the process of getting her Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill through the Scottish Parliament recently, just before it was dissolved for the election. The Bill now means that, amongst other changes, victims of domestic abuse will have more protection, and should find it easier to get help.
Patrick Dealtry, co-founder of Skyguard, which is providing the alarms at a reduced cost, explained how the device has been deployed within the majority of UK police forces to protect some of the most vulnerable in society.
Scottish police forces are keen to use the device more extensively, but for that to happen they need funds.
Janice Wilson says, “We are delighted with the positive response to our first Tartan Ribbon Fund event. Thanks to the support we received, we have raised £2500 so far for Central Scotland and Tayside Police Forces Domestic Abuse Units. We will continue to celebrate International Womens’ Day and to support Soroptimist International’s campaigns, and details of next year’s event will be published in the summer”.
Will Murray, Skyguard’s Marketing Director says, “This event illustrates the tremendous efforts the Scottish Soroptimists are achieving in raising funds and awareness for victims of domestic abuse. Skyguard were thrilled to be given this opportunity to support the campaign, and look forward to participating in future events to help raise the profile of an issue which too often goes unreported.”