Measures announced include:
- £8.4 million to support victims of violence against women and girls
- targeted funding for the most vulnerable communities
- up to £7.5 million for domestic abuse interventions in healthcare settings
- funding for rapid spiking tests to build police intelligence
£8.4 million is being awarded to funding specialist support services for the most vulnerable. The majority of the money will go to services which are led, designed and delivered by the users and communities they serve, such as services for victims and survivors from ethnic minority backgrounds, deaf and disabled victims and survivors, and LGBT victims and survivors. Victims will benefit from trauma-informed support which could range from counselling to refuge accommodation.
In addition, in recognition of the important role healthcare workers play in identifying domestic abuse and signposting victims to support, the government is also investing up to £7.5 million of funding for domestic abuse interventions in healthcare settings. This funding will aim to equip more healthcare professionals with the right tools to be able to better identify and respond to domestic abuse, and improve referral pathways for victims to access support services.
The announcement comes on the International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls, which the Home Secretary marked yesterday (24 November) with a visit to Refuge, to see first-hand the support needed for domestic abuse and sexual assault victims to rebuild their lives.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman said:
It is paramount that victims of insidious crimes like domestic abuse and sexual assault receive the support they need to rebuild their lives, and we know that those with other vulnerabilities need dedicated support.
This funding comes in addition to an incredibly wide range of work across the board to ensure victims are supported and criminals are brought to justice.
After consulting the public in 2020 through the Government Call for Evidence on Violence Against Women and Girls, the government committed through the Tackling VAWG Strategy and Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan to ensure the provision of tailored victim support. This highlighted the importance of ‘by-and-for’ services, as well as trauma-informed provision and other victim support which is tailored to specific forms of VAWG.
The Domestic Abuse Commissioner, Nicole Jacobs said:
We know these services have been woefully underfunded, so I am delighted to see this additional money being made available for ‘by-and-for’ organisations. Domestic abuse survivors tell us that getting support from their own community is the most effective way to help them recover and rebuild their lives.
As part of its commitment to tackling all forms of violence against women and girls, the Home Office is also granting an additional £70,000 of funding for rapid forensic testing of samples from reported incidents of drink and needle spiking.
This is part of our support for the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s work to determine the nature and scale of spiking. The funding will cover testing of additional urine samples taken by the police, to allow us to build on our understanding of spiking, including improving geographical data on what substances are used and where.
These are some of the many measures the government has taken to support victims, bring perpetrators to justice and protect women and girls across the country. Last month the ‘Enough’ campaign to tackle violence against women and girls, was launched. This gives bystanders safe ways to intervene if they witness an incident of violence against women and girls, ranging from sexual harassment on the street, public transport or at work, to unwanted touching, sharing intimate images of someone without their consent and coercive control in a relationship.