Author: Andrew McAuliffe-Shave (Programmes Administrator, The Wish Centre)
Eleven women's sector organizations have joined forces to initiate a petition demanding increased funding for community-based domestic abuse services. The organisations are Refuge, End Violence Against Women Coalition, Women’s Aid, SafeLives, Solace Women’s Aid, Southall Black Sisters, Independent Domestic Abuse Services (IDAS), IRISi, Imkaan, Agenda Alliance and LAWRS.
The coalition is calling for the Secretary of State for Justice to act now to help survivors of domestic abuse struggling to access the support they need in local communities around the country.
The petition advocates for a minimum yearly funding of £238 million for community-based services specialising in domestic abuse, to be implemented through the Victims and Prisoners Bill. This financial support is essential in reaching out to survivors, especially those belonging to marginalised groups, along with their children, who encounter significant barriers while seeking assistance.
The petition also emphasizes the need for the establishment of a dedicated national funding pool, operating under the principle of 'by and for,' to address the long-overdue investment requirements of specialist services catering to D/deaf and disabled individuals, LGBTQ+ communities, Black and minoritised women, as well as migrant women without access to public funds.
According to research conducted by the Domestic Abuse Commissioner in 2022, less than 50% of survivors seeking community-based services were able to access them.
The estimated annual funding deficit for organisations led by Black and minoritized women under the 'by and for' framework ranges from £63 million to £114 million.