Dame Vera welcomes the £22 million funding which has been given to 548 sexual violence and domestic abuse charities to help them cope during the pandemic

The Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales Dame Vera Baird QC has described as “very welcome” the news charities which support survivors of sexual violence and domestic abuse are receiving the much-needed additional financial support made available by the Ministry of Justice.

Responding to the news that 548 charities across England and Wales, including small and regional organisations, are now receiving £22m in funding to maintain their life-saving counselling and advice services which have seen a surge in demand because of the Coronavirus pandemic, Dame Vera said: “This funding is very welcome and it will ensure help and support for thousands of victims for the next few months.

“The Ministry of Justice has been the swiftest to finalise and distribute emergency funding to the victims’ sector during COVID and I congratulate them on their efforts to make the process as simple and as fast as possible.

“These charities struggle with funding at the best of times and do not have the resilience to cope with the hugely increased demand for their services which has emerged during lockdown,” she said.

She also welcomed the way the money has been allocated saying: “I applaud that the cash was distributed through PCCs, which is a new approach to emergency funding, and seems to have been highly successful.

“They have good reach into their local communities, and it is noticeable that along with larger charities some smaller specialist ones, who are often missed out of national funding rounds have benefitted well.

“This funding is for the period to September.  Obviously longer-term funding is needed and the process of renewing this will have to start almost as soon as the current funding has been distributed.

“What is really needed is a commitment to sustained funding for these charities which do such vitally important work,” she concluded.