Mayor’s funding boost to tackle violence against women and girls
A new Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime report reveals that domestic abuse offences in London increased 63 per cent between 2011 and 2018.
The ‘Beneath the Numbers’ report found that three quarters of victims of domestic abuse were women and that victims were also more likely to live in more deprived areas. In 2018, there were 29 domestic violence murders in the city, up from nine the previous year.
This rise, alongside a lack of consistent funding from central government, has left London’s critical support services at breaking point.
London’s support services need reliable funding
A lack of funding for services that support women and girls who have been the victim of violence in London is having a negative impact on survivors, with many unable to get the help they need to rebuild their lives.
Funding to the women’s sector across the country has reduced drastically in the last decade. Many women’s organisations have closed or are under threat of closure because of the funding crisis. Between the end of 2017 and the summer of 2018 nearly two-thirds of referrals to support services were unsuccessful. Rape Crisis Centres across the capital have been regularly forced to close their waiting lists and, for the first time in the middle of 2018, all four centres closed their lists due to demand.
How the Mayor is helping
The Mayor has announced an extra £15 million to help services that support women and girls who have suffered from violence in London. The money from business rates will provide resources for stretched domestic abuse charities, increase support for victims and survivors, and support hard-to-reach communities.
The investment comes on top of his Violence Against Women and Girls strategy which committed £10 million a year to support victims and survivors and to help rehabilitate perpetrators of domestic violence. Sadiq has also invested £6.8 million in the Violence Reduction Unit, which is tackling the root causes of crime, including domestic violence.
A survivor speaks
Sara is a domestic abuse survivor who spent years trying to escape the grip of violence.
“I struggled with low self-esteem as a result of years of abuse,’ she says. “I was moved around a lot but wasn’t able to find the help I needed. I was eventually placed in a Solace refuge where they supported me to rebuild my life,” Sara says. “If only I’d had this support earlier, I might have been able to avoid some of the abuse. Now I can finally see a future, a life ahead of me.”