The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today announced £15 million of funding has been awarded to support a range of projects providing safe accommodation for survivors of domestic abuse.
The fresh investment is part of the Mayor’s Domestic Abuse Safe Accommodation programme which is helping specialist organisations across London provide thousands of vulnerable women, children and men with life changing support. This includes safe refuge, specialist counselling and outreach services.
It comes amid warnings from charities that the cost-of-living crisis is making it difficult for women to flee from abuse, because they are increasingly forced to choose between staying in an abusive situation or face financial hardship.
Latest figures for the 12 months to December 2023, show that domestic abuse reporting continue to rise with more than 96,000 offences recorded by the Met Police, an eight per cent rise compared with the year ending February 2020.
This rise can be put down partly due to better recording practices from the police and an increase in victims coming forward and reporting crimes to the police. However, despite the increase in reporting, victims are facing further barriers exacerbated by the cost-of-living crisis.
The Mayor’s Domestic Abuse Safe Accommodation programme supports more than 70 projects across London since its launch in December 2021, providing safe accommodation-based support to over 23,500 survivors of domestic abuse, including vulnerable men, women and children from across London. The new major investment is coupled with existing funding and will mean that these projects – as well as 14 new initiatives – are able to continue their vital work in supporting more survivors of domestic abuse.
Today the Mayor visited East European Resource Centre in Hammersmith & Fulham – the only dedicated support service in the capital for victims of domestic abuse from Eastern Europe, to see how DASA investment is helping small grassroots projects to continue delivering vital services for survivors of domestic abuse and their families.
This is just one part the Mayor’s wide-ranging strategy to tackling violence against women and girls (VAWG). It is working to ensure dangerous perpetrators are brought to justice, survivors are supported and that interventions are put in place to tackle the root causes of VAWG by challenging sexism and misogyny in society.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I’m really proud to have worked with a wide range of partners to deliver safe accommodation support and specialist services for thousands of survivors of domestic abuse, an important part of the far-reaching work underway in London to tackle violence against women and girls once and for all.
“Sadly, cases of domestic abuse continue to rise and we know the cost-of-living crisis is leaving many survivors with the dilemma of staying with perpetrators of abuse or facing financial uncertainty and hardship; and putting vital support services often operating on small budgets under real pressure.
“This funding will support organisations and community projects doing life-changing work by providing safe places for survivors of domestic abuse to live and the specialist support they need, as we continue to work together to build a safer London for everyone.”
Barbara Drozdowicz, CEO of East European Resource Centre, said: “Funding for by-and-for services like ours is nothing less than a lifeline for the migrant survivors we support, both their immediate safety and long-term recovery and wellbeing.
“Sadly, the cost-of-living crisis and changing immigration rules have resulted in that Eastern European victims find it increasingly more difficult to leave abusive relationships.
“For this, we are very grateful for the attention that the Mayor is paying to the needs of migrant victims of domestic abuse, and funding that the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime and the DLUHC direct to support our specialist services that address access and support needs of the most disadvantaged migrant women.”
Diana Nammi, Executive Director, IKWRO – Women’s Rights Organisation said: “Through DASA funding, we have been able to make immense positive impact on many women and children’s live in London.
“We provided advice and advocacy to women and girls from MENA, who suffered different form of abuse, who could not speak English and needed to speak with someone directly. We have supported many Afghans who moved to the UK after the Taliban took Afghanistan, many of these women are victims of child marriage, forced marriage and husband-based abuse. The funding is crucial and live saving; thank you.”