Women’s Aid welcomes Government’s VAWG strategy
Tuesday 8th March 2016
Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said:
“We welcome today’s publication of the Government’s VAWG strategy. It reaffirms the Government’s ongoing commitment to taking a robust approach to tackling violence against women and girls – and rightly so. With two women a week on average being killed by a partner or ex-partner in England and Wales, the importance of the VAWG strategy should not be underestimated.
“In particular, we warmly welcome the commitment of £40 million of dedicated funding over this spending review, to provide support for refuges and other accommodation-based services. This is a lifeline to the thousands of women and children fleeing domestic abuse every year. Women’s Aid has campaigned hard to get refuges on the political agenda with our campaigns SOS and Give Me Shelter with The Sun, and we welcome the specific acknowledgement of the importance of refuges. We now need to see that local authorities will be held accountable for spending this money on the specialist support that we know women need. We also need clarification on refuges being exempt from the housing benefit cap. If they are not, the £13 million already invested, and any future investment, will be in vain.
“We are pleased that the Government has promised a National Statement of Expectations. This will be a critical element of the VAWG strategy, setting standards to improve the country’s response to and understanding of domestic abuse. We will work closely with the Government on it, and hope that it will contain not only clear expectations but also clear lines of accountability. Unless the Government is really prepared to hold local authorities to account for delivering services that keep women safe and support them to long-term recovery and independence, we will not see any reduction in the horrific statistic of two killings of women a week by a partner or former partner.
“Finally, we welcome the reference in the VAWG strategy to our approach, Change that Lasts. At last there is recognition that creating a needs-led response to domestic abuse is the most effective and economically viable way to provide support to survivors. A focus on long-term independence and early intervention will help us prevent domestic abuse. We are grateful that we have been able to pilot some elements of the Change that Lasts model through funding raised by the Tampon Tax, and look forward to sharing our learning from these elements with the Government.”
For more information, please contact our press office.