Victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence are benefiting from £22 million of emergency funding to help organisations providing support during the pandemic.
- funding boost to help charities provide remote services and expand their support
- 548 organisations across the country are receiving money to support more victims
- part of £76 million package for victims during the pandemic
Social distancing measures mean that some charities can no longer offer face-to-face support, and must transfer to mainly remote services to provide victims with the practical and emotional help they need.
548 charities across England and Wales, including small and regional organisations, are now receiving funding to maintain their life-saving counselling and advice services. It will allow them to employ more staff, keep helplines open longer, as well as fund the technology needed for other forms of contact with victims - such as video calls.
Victims Minister Alex Chalk said:
Victims of domestic and sexual abuse show immense courage in coming forward and seeking help – so it is vital that support is available when they need it.
This funding boost will help frontline charities to continue their invaluable work, supporting some of the most vulnerable people in society during these difficult times.
It is part of an unprecedented £76 million of emergency funding announced by the government in May to ensure that these victims can continue to access the support they need. Organisations supporting victims of sexual violence and domestic abuse were invited to request funding directly from the Ministry of Justice or from their local Police and Crime Commissioner, and were required to provide evidence of what services they would deliver.
APCC Victims Leads, Deputy Mayor of London, Sophie Linden, and Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner of North Yorkshire, Julia Mulligan, said:
We welcome the additional emergency funding that has been made available, through Police and Crime Commissioners, to provide the necessary support for local services for victims and survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence.
This funding is vital to ensure that services continue to be available during the Covid-19 crisis, to provide support to those who are amongst the most vulnerable victims. We look forward to working with government to ensure that there is essential funding in place for these services throughout the duration of the Covid 19 crisis and beyond.
A further £3 million is being invested in recruiting Independent Sexual Violence Advisers – who provide advice and support for victims, and act as the link between police, support services and criminal justice agencies – until 2022.
Work has also been undertaken to ensure the funding is proportionate between general support services and those tailored to victims of abuse who are BAME, disabled or LGBTQI – with 20% of the charities supporting victims with protected characteristics.
The funding follows the virtual Hidden Harms Summit convened by the Prime Minister last month, which explored the unique challenges faced by victims of modern slavery, sexual violence and domestic abuse during the coronavirus pandemic, and the steps needed to ensure they continue to get the help they need.
A follow-up report to the summit will be published today.