Women’s Aid welcomes £2 million fund to help survivors of domestic abuse
Women’s Aid is delighted to be working with the Home Office, member services and sector peers to help distribute an additional £2 million in funding to provide one-off payments to survivors of domestic abuse to help them flee, and stay fled, from abusers.
From 31st January 2024, survivors of domestic abuse who do not have the financial means to leave their abusers will be able to apply for a one-off payment of up to £500 via one of over 470 support services, for essential items such as groceries, nappies or support with new accommodation to help them and their children flee to safety.
For the first time, survivors can also apply for a further one-off payment of up to £2,500 to help secure a sustainable independent future, such as putting down a deposit for rental accommodation. This could play an important role in preventing homelessness and alleviate some of the financial pressures faced by survivors, providing stability and independence.
The fund will be delivered via referrals from a network of local frontline services in England and Wales including organisations, helplines and caseworkers who have a specialist understanding of domestic abuse.
The fund, which will initially last until March 2025, builds on a successful pilot from May 2023, delivered by Women’s Aid and the Home Office, which helped over 600 women find safety. The evaluation of this funding found that 83.4% of those applying said that the payments were used to help flee an abuser. With most survivors fleeing with little or no belongings, 77.6% said the money helped them to purchase essential goods such as fresh food for their children. Mental health and peace of mind was also improved, with the payments enabling them to purchase security measures such as CCTV and doorbell cameras.
Home Secretary, James Cleverly said:
Tackling violence and abuse against women and girls is a priority of mine.
We know that victims of domestic abuse are often forced to flee with very little. These payments cover essentials like food, clothing and nappies, and will also help them keep a roof over their heads.
After the successful trial of this lifeline scheme with Women’s Aid last year, I am proud to continue helping victims to escape abuse, find safety and rebuild their lives.
Farah Nazeer, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said:
At Women’s Aid we warmly welcome the funding which will be made available to all survivors of domestic abuse through our, and our partners’, work with the Home Office. Domestic abuse affects a huge number of people, many of whom face additional challenges when it comes to receiving the life-changing support that they need. This year, we are delighted to be working with specialist services to ensure all survivors, including those from minoritised groups, receive the help they so desperately need.
When we worked on the pilot of the fund in May last year, we saw immediately the impact this was having on survivors – over 75% of applicants used their grant to replace or purchase essential goods for themselves or their children, after they had fled their abuser with nothing to their name.
This year’s funding will make life-changing improvements to the lives of countless adult and child survivors, allowing them to take those first steps towards a life free of abuse. We are immensely proud to be a part of this, especially during our 50th year, and believe that by allowing more survivors to escape their abusers, we are taking steps in the right direction to building a society in which domestic abuse is no longer tolerated.
Melanie Brown, MBE, Patron of Women’s Aid said:
“I am so happy at the news that the government fund for survivors of domestic abuse will continue – I know how needed it is and the difference it has made to the lives of women and children who could not have left without it.
As someone who knows first-hand what it is like to live in fear of a partner, I am proud to have campaigned as Patron of Women’s Aid and with The Sun on this important issue, and thank the government for listening to our voices.”
Nicole Jacobs, Domestic Abuse Commissioner for England and Wales, said:
I am delighted that the government is launching a Flexible Fund for 2024 following the success of last year’s scheme.
This fund provides one-off urgent payments to victims of domestic abuse, many of whom report leaving their abuser with little or no belongings. It will be a lifeline for many, helping victims to flee abuse and rebuild their lives.
I hope to see this critical funding reach as many victims and survivors as possible, including those who face the most significant barriers to support.
- The emergency fund evaluation report can be accessed here.
- Further information on how to apply for the funding will be made available soon.