Women’s Aid welcomes Home Secretary’s announcement, but calls for funding for lifeline services
Saturday, 11th April 2020
“We welcome the home secretary’s commitment to protect and support survivors experiencing domestic abuse during the unprecedented challenge of COVID 19. At a time when we know coercive and controlling behaviour is escalated, and women and children increasingly isolated, it’s important that the government is clearly stating that survivors are not alone.
The National Domestic Abuse Helpline, and other specialist helplines, provide a crucial lifeline for many. We know however that for some women reaching out for support over the phone with the abuser constantly present is simply not safe. Demand for our national Live Chat service, which currently receives no government funding, has risen by 41% since the lockdown has been imposed. Our online Live Chat is a life-line to expert support and we now urge the government to fund us to deliver this service all day.
It is still not clear how our national network of domestic abuse services, who deliver life-saving refuges and a range of other community based support, will benefit from the chancellor’s announcement earlier this week. We are calling for an immediate cash injection of at least £48+ million to ensure domestic abuse services, who face increased costs from working remotely and tackling staff shortages, can cope with COVID 19. Funding must be delivered simply and fairly to services, without a lengthy and bureaucratic process that will exclude smaller services who lack the resources to apply. There must be a ring-fenced pot for services led ‘by and for’ BME women and migrant women and a suspension of ‘no recourse to public funds’ conditions to ensure all survivors – regardless of their immigration status – can access support.
We are reassured to see violence against women moving further up the agenda during COVID 19. We now need urgent action, and coordinated leadership at all levels of government to ensure no survivor is turned away.”
If you are worried that your partner, or that of a friend or family member, is controlling and abusive, you can go to www.womensaid.org.uk for support and information, including Live Chat, the Survivors’ Forum, The Survivor’s Handbook and the Women’s Aid Directory.
For more information, please contact the Women’s Aid press office: 020 7566 2511 / [email protected]