Women’s Aid responds to the Victims and Prisoners Bill
Isabelle Younane, head of external affairs at Women’s Aid, said:
“The new Victims and Prisoners Bill could be an opportunity to place victims at the heart of the justice system however, we are concerned that it does not go far enough to lead to meaningful change for survivors of domestic abuse. Our members have already told us how the current cost of living crisis is threatening the survival of their services, and the lack of any recognition of the need to prioritise specialist support for victims in this Bill, will only put them at greater risk. Women’s Aid’s recent report shows that every pound invested in domestic abuse support services represents a £9 saving to the public purse – demonstrating a clear economic case for commissioning specialist local services, on top of the immense benefits of these services having the knowledge and expertise to properly support survivors.
“This Bill fails to recognise that the role of the Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA), while hugely important, is just one type of victim support. Survivors desperately need access to a range of options – including holistic support and intersectional advocacy from organisations led ‘by and for’ Black and minoritised women, Deaf and disabled women, and LGBT+ victims, which are already chronically underfunded.
“Violence against women and girls is an urgent public priority and it is vital that we see the changes in this legislation that survivors and our members have told us they need.”