Joint VAWG sector emergency Covid-19 funding statement

The chancellor has announced a £750 million pot to support frontline charities, including those supporting domestic abuse victims, during the coronavirus outbreak.

The VAWG (Violence Against Women and Girls) sector welcomes this funding to ensure the provision of life saving VAWG services, but calls on the government to ensure that funding is made available in accordance with the following core principles:

1. Urgency

Emergency funds announced by the chancellor and home secretary for domestic abuse and
violence against women and girls (VAWG) organisations need to make its way to specialist
frontline services within the next couple of weeks. This funding is needed to cover costs
now – services are operating in a ‘perfect storm’ of lost fundraising income, additional costs
of remote working, increasing complexity of caseloads, and staff shortages. It is also
essential that there is attention to further funding which will be needed when demand for
support rises as expected after lockdown. A long-term, sustainable funding model for VAWG
services remains a fundamental priority.

2. Ring-fenced VAWG fund that is simple, flexible, and fair

At least £65 million of the £750 million package announced by the chancellor must be ringfenced
for specialist VAWG service providers, so that the VAWG sector receives the unrestricted funding we need to respond to VAWG during the Covid-19 crisis. There should be one fund that organisations can access through a single streamlined process, which is fair to both smaller and larger services and avoids having to spend time or resources on making complex and multiple bids. Funding must not be administered through bureaucratic, time-intensive mechanisms that fund services in silos – such as via police and crime commissioners and local authorities, where statutory bodies are not aware of specialist community led services, ignoring non- commissioned services would be disastrous. There should also be equivalent and coordinated devolved and non-devolved funding streams to ensureinvestment across the national network of VAWG organisations.

3. Ring-fenced funding for specialist BME ‘by and for’ services and marginalised groups

Funding must also be ring-fenced for specialist VAWG services led by and for BME women,
deaf / disabled women, and LGBT survivors. These services are essential for fulfilling duties
under the Equality Act and Public Sector Equality Duty, as well as meeting survivors’ specific
support needs, but have been marginalised and excluded from existing funding systems.
Their inclusion, through a specific ring-fence, is essential for an equitable funding system
which does not further entrench inequality and social injustice, which has been exacerbated
in this pandemic.

Supported by:

End Violence Against Women Coalition
Womens Aid Federation England
Safe Lives
Latin American Womens Rights Service
Step Up Migrant Women
Solace Womens Aid
Welsh Womens Aid
Women For Refugee Women
Southall Black Sisters
Surviving Economic Abuse
Stay Safe East
Standing Together
Rights Of Women

© 2020 Women's Aid Federation of England – Women’s Aid is a company limited by guarantee registered in England No: 3171880.

Women’s Aid is a registered charity in England No. 1054154

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