Dame Vera Baird QC stresses the system must be streamlined so money gets to those in need quickly

Today (19 May) the Ministry of Justice has published details of the way domestic abuse and sexual violence support services can apply for a share the £25m extra funding it has made available due to the Coronavirus.

The extraordinary COVID-19 funding will be distributed through two separate funds, one via Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) and one through the national Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Fund.

The funds distributed via PCCs will be allocated as follows:

  • Domestic abuse services that are already commissioned by PCCs (£10 million)
  • Domestic abuse services that are not currently commissioned by PCCs (£5 million)
  • Sexual violence services that are already commissioned by PCCs and those that are not currently funded by PCCs (£5 million)

In addition to this £5m funding will be made available through the Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Fund. This is to help support services to meet the additional costs they have incurred or will incur whilst adapting their services during the pandemic.

The Home Office has also published guidance for the forthcoming its £2 million fund for domestic abuse charities affected by the coronavirus pandemic (HYPERLINK). However, it does not say when they bidding process for this fund will open.

Reacting to news the Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales Dame Vera Baird QC said: “I am pleased that the funding allocation system has been launched by the Ministry of Justice, and that these guides have been provided for organisations which desperately need this money.

“And I welcome the inclusion of money for non-PCC commissioned services – as it is crucial that these charities, which are often small and specialised, are also able to access funding.

“I hope some there will be a degree of flexibility in the process especially for the smaller charities who are very pressed managing the increase in demand. The application systems must be simple and straightforward so that the process itself does not put additional strain on these support services many of which already stretched to capacity,” she said.

Dame Vera continued: “We will have to see how the process works in practice, and I will be monitoring it to ensure that these vital services get the money they have been promised.

“I also urge the Home Office to follow suit as soon as possible and open the bidding process for the money it has made available to support domestic abuse charities. These support services have been dealing with the fallout of the crisis for some weeks and they need financial help now.” she said.

The applications for funds made via PCCs have to be submitted by 1 June, with those made to the Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Fund having to be submitted by 2 June.

For more details about the MoJ schemes click here.