Women’s Aid launch 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign calling for urgent investment in specialist domestic abuse services.
On International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls, Women’s Aid is launching an open letter calling for political party leaders to invest in domestic abuse services, ensuring survivors of abuse get the right response the first time – saving lives and saving money.
Specialist domestic abuse services across the country are inefficiently funded, at a huge cost to the public purse, already strained public services, and to survivors of abuse. Government investment in specialist domestic abuse services, will bring savings of as much as £23 billion in public money every year, saving countless lives. For every pound invested in specialist women’s domestic abuse support services, we will see a saving to the public purse of at least £9. Survivors of abuse are also paying the price – unable to access specialist support when they need it – with specialist domestic abuse services struggling to stay open.
Abuse costs us all but it shouldn’t cost this much.
Domestic abuse is a national emergency which affects us all and we all have a part to play in ending it to #EndAbuseTogether. During 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, Women’s Aid is encouraging supporters to sign the open letter, calling on political party leaders to make domestic abuse their top priority and invest in specialist domestic abuse services. The government must urgently invest to save lives and save money.
Farah Nazeer, Women’s Aid CEO, said:
“Survivors across the country are being let down by inefficient funding that could cost them their lives.
“We know first-hand from survivors and our members, that women’s specialist domestic abuse services have been left depleted through a lack of sustainable funding. Existing funding is too often spent on large, generic services that are ill-equipped to provide expert support. This means that women and children fleeing abuse are unable to access the help they so desperately need.
“We are calling on political leaders to make domestic abuse a top priority, and the stark truth of the matter is that by doing so and investing smartly in the sector, £23 billion in public money could be saved every year, at the same time as saving countless lives.”
Melanie Brown MBE, Women’s Aid Patron, said:
“Domestic abuse is a silent killer – it affects so many women and children and it often doesn’t feel safe to speak up, so our voices go unheard. Women experiencing the awful reality of abuse need us all to stand up for them. I’m asking you to join this vital Women’s Aid campaign, shout loudly for survivors and call on political party leaders to make funding domestic abuse services a top priority.”
Women’s Aid member services have said:
“We don’t have enough funds to support clients with food costs, accommodation or any other emergency needs. Many of our survivors are facing financial difficulty and ask us to help to send them food vouchers, but our funding is limited” (From a Black and minoritised women’s service)
“Our reserves can only be spent once, when they’re gone that will be the end of any support we can give to staff and survivors. Local authority contracts have been ignoring inflation for too many years and there will come a point when we can’t afford to bid for them. There is a risk that the next 12 months will see non-specialist providers takeover specialist services, women will be the losers in this scenario.”
“Our service is at serious threat of closure.”