As the government works on its Comprehensive Spending Review 2020, we’ve joined 25 other sector organisations in writing to the government to call for investment in responses to domestic abuse and sexual violence, that are equal to the enormous scale of the challenge.
While public awareness and concern of domestic abuse has grown during the Covid-19 pandemic, long-term sustainable funding remains a key concern. Many organisations and services within the sector are operating without statutory government funding and are instead relying on donations to keep their doors open, often working significantly over capacity.
The government’s own figures paint Domestic Abuse as a £66 billion+ problem. Figures like that need some real Treasury attention and investment in a joint perpetrator strategy. We need to start investing in preventing harm.
Funding for victim services across the sector is also currently extremely fragmented and inadequate. Anyone trying to seek support or justice is likely to face a postcode lottery, long waits, or discover there are no provisions available to them at all.
Women’s Aid Federation of England (WAFE) reports that in in 2018-19 one in five of the referrals to refuges in England were refused because the refuge had a lack of space or capacity to support the survivor.* The Black and ethnically minoritised women’s sector, run by women who are expert in the needs of women from different communities and where there are very high levels of self-referral because the services are known and trusted, is chronically under-funded with close to half of its services at risk of closure. Rape Crisis Centres have more people seeking help than they are able to support and have ongoing waiting lists.
It is not cost effective to allow violence against women and girls to persist at the levels it does and absorb all these costs annually as though it is inevitable and cannot be prevented.
In the joint letter, we and our fellow signatories have called on government to make investments in the prevention of abuse before it takes place, as well as funding for services for-and-by services.
Read the full letter here
*Read Women's Aid's related report: The Domestic Abuse Report 2020: The Hidden Housing Crisis