Scotland in Lockdown project concludes
The project aimed to understand the impacts of the COVID-19 lockdown for four groups of people already exposed to high levels of isolation and exclusion, who may face challenges accessing information and complying with COVID-19 guidance.
The groups were:
- refugees and people seeking asylum who are at risk of destitution
- people in prison or under criminal justice supervision, and their loved ones
- disabled people and those with long-term conditions
- survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence
The study was conducted by a team of researchers from across the School, led by Professor Sarah Armstrong and Dr Lucy Pickering, and with 304 participants, was one of the largest completed studies of social effects of COVID-19 lockdown in Scotland.
Key findings included:
- For the most excluded people, food, money and housing were key issues.
- The third sector has played a vital role in raising awareness and filling growing gaps left by suspensions and delays of state welfare services but has had an impact on staff's personal wellbeing.
- Digital exclusion and digital poverty issues exist for these groups but it's not always the case of lacking equipment or skills, other issues were: medical, capacity, locational, cultural social ways also negatively affected people's ability and willingness to use online/communication technology.
- People were both saturated with information as well as wanting more information. There were examples of poor information for particular groups causing further fear and mental health deterioration and self-isolating behaviour.
- The emergence of ‘long pandemic’ the social version of 'long Covid' where the consequences for particularly marginalised people will be a build-up of mental health damage to individuals, families and groups that will play out over months and years.
It is hoped the research will help the Scottish Government and statutory services to have a better and more nuanced understanding in addressing the situations of people experiencing multiple forms of inequality. It may help clarify the ways policy can worsen the situations of the already disadvantaged and a better knowledge about higher risk groups can inform more effective support efforts.
First published: 8 January 2021