Ahead of the upcoming Spending Review, the Victims' Commissioner and Domestic Abuse Commissioner write a joint letter to the Prime Minister and Chancellor highlighting the "inadequacy of current funding arrangements" for domestic abuse services.
Dame Vera Baird QC, the Victims’ Commissioner, and Nicole Jacobs, the Domestic Abuse Commissioner, have written a joint letter to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, calling for “effective, longer-term funding to support the Government’s efforts to end Violence Against Women and Girls, including domestic abuse.”
In the letter, the two Commissioners say the COVID-19 pandemic has brought domestic abuse to the forefront of public consciousness, while also “bringing into harsher light the inadequacy of current funding arrangements for the life-saving services that support victims and survivors.”
The Commissioners reference the stark increase in calls to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline over the course of the Spring lockdown (soaring to 70% higher than usual levels) and cite the Counting Dead Women project, which found 14 women were killed by men in the first three weeks of lockdown (the highest rate in 11 years).
“The pandemic has demonstrated how critical these services are, with domestic abuse workers rightly recognised as ‘key workers’ during this period, and services showing remarkable resilience and working around the clock to keep victims safe,” the Commissioners say.
The letter goes on to recognise and welcome the previous emergency funding provided by the government but they say funding remains “patchy and short-term” and “many frontline workers have no funding assurance beyond March 2021.” They write that it is now “vital that effective, longer-term funding is provided to services as part of this week’s Spending Review.”
The Victims’ Commissioner and Domestic Abuse Commissioner write: “Without a strong message from Government and committed funding, these workers are at risk of receiving redundancy notices come Christmas and the New Year. We do not believe for a second you want this to happen.”
They conclude by acknowledging the “unprecedented time for our country and for public finances” but say “the cost of not funding services effectively is far too high.”
The Commissioners also co-authored a piece for the Times’ Red Box on 24 November 2020: ‘Domestic abuse charities need a lifeline from the chancellor this week’ (£)