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Women’s Aid responds to government’s ending violence against women and girls strategy

Refreshed strategy published “to re-affirm government’s commitments”

Women's Aid has welcomed the government's updated strategy to end violence against women and girls but has urged the government to develop sustainable and long-term funding of all domestic abuse support services.

The updated strategy commits the government to introducing various initiatives, including new Domestic Abuse Protection Orders through the draft Domestic Abuse Bill, delivering a national programme of training to raise awareness of Forced Marriage and FGM Protection Orders and developing new approaches to identify breach of protective orders. The government will also commission new research on "what works" to engage men and boys on challenging issues such as gender and healthy relationships, and into the causes. It will provide up to £50m to help tackle FGM internationally.

Sian Hawkins, Head of Campaigns and Public Affairs at Women's Aid, said:

"Domestic abuse costs lives and it costs money. While we welcome the government putting a spotlight on the issue of violence against women and girls (VAWG) by bringing forth its domestic abuse bill and VAWG strategy, we are still turning away 400 women and their children from refuge services every week. Without a long term plan in place for how to fund these life-saving services, the government's ambitions to transform the national response to domestic abuse will fall short. That's why we urge the government to continue to work with us to develop a sustainable and long-term funding future of all domestic abuse support services, including services for black and minoritised, disabled, LBT and older women who currently struggle to access support that can meet their specific needs. By investing just a fraction of the £66 billion domestic abuse costs us every year in welfare support and specialist services, we can help more survivors safely escape and get the support they need to rebuild their lives free from fear and abuse.

"It is important that the government continues to recognise and prioritise all forms of violence against women and girls. We have been deeply concerned about the handling of rape and serious sexual assault cases by the police and CPS given the shocking fall in prosecutions and convictions in recent years. We welcome the government's commitment to review how the criminal justice system is handling rape and serious sexual assault cases. It is clear that the system needs to be urgently improved to ensure that survivors can have confidence that they will be listened to, believed and supported by the criminal justice system and that perpetrators are held to account for their crimes."

For the updated strategy, click here. For the response of the Local Government Association, click here.

10/3/19