16 Feb Women’s Aid welcomes funding and support for domestic abuse survivors
Women’s Aid welcomes funding and support for domestic abuse survivors, announced today by the Department for Levelling Up, Communities and Housing.
Isabelle Younane, head of policy, campaigns and public affairs at Women’s Aid, said:
“Women’s Aid welcomes this much-needed funding to ensure that refuges are equipped to provide life-saving support for survivors, including healthcare, immigration advice and interpreters. It is vital that councils across England continue to spend funding in line with the guidance and regulations under the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, which places a legal duty on local authorities to fund support in safe accommodation for all victims and their families. Local authorities should therefore ensure that this support is delivered by specialist domestic abuse services, with ring-fenced funding for specialist services led by and for Black and minoritised women. These services are best placed to deliver holistic, wrap-around support and have built long term trust with the communities in which they work.
“Women’s Aid estimates that at least £409 million is needed to run the specialist domestic abuse services across England this year, and this funding is therefore well-received as a positive step towards that goal. Nevertheless, today’s announcement still leaves a significant shortfall in the funding needed to run domestic abuse services across the country, particularly in the context of rising energy prices. Additional funding is therefore needed to sustain the national network of refuges and ensure that all survivors can access the specialist support needed to transition into safe and settled lives.
“It is essential that local councils have the guidance they need to deliver a consistent needs-led approach to delivering this duty. We know that domestic abuse has severe and long-lasting impacts on the mental health of survivors and their children – and that women face huge barriers to accessing the support they need to heal. From long waiting times, victim-blaming and communication barriers, to the stigmatisation of mental health, and a lack of trauma-informed responses and services – support is hugely inadequate. Our flagship campaign – Deserve To Be Heard – exists to change that. We look forward to working closely with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, and the Department for Health and Social Care to ensure that statutory support includes the provision of trauma-informed mental health services for survivors.
“Being a victim of abuse often means having every aspect of life being controlled. It is crucial that survivors are given the support they need to take back control after leaving – including deciding where they want to live. Survivors should never be made to stay in the same area as their abuser, or be forced out if they want to remain in their own home. We welcome the upcoming consultations alongside the funding, so that survivors can have the options they deserve when rebuilding their lives.”