EVAW Coalition urges funding for women's services to deliver government violence against women strategy
The End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW) warmly welcomes today’s announcement of a cross-government strategy to tackle all forms of violence against women including rape, domestic violence, trafficking and forced marriage. It sees this as a vital step towards the government fulfilling its human rights obligations and ending abuse of women and girls. All main political parties support a strategy, as does the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
But the Coalition warns that the strategy will only be effective if properly resourced and women will judge the strategy in terms of its impact on frontline women’s services. Women consulted for the strategy told the government they not only needed these services, but that, in some instances, they had literally saved their lives.
Professor Liz Kelly, EVAW Chair, said:
“Hundreds of thousands of women are affected by violence each year and the vast majority do not report to the police or disclose to health services. For too long there has been a fractured approach with key government departments, such as education and health, failing to meet their responsibilities. So we warmly welcome the government’s commitment to a more joined up approach that focuses on stopping violence and abuse of women and girls before it starts.
However, we know that women still face a postcode lottery when seeking support and much funding for existing services, such as rape crisis centres, refuges and services for ethnic minority women, is increasingly fragile. Women across the country will be dismayed if the strategy does not include a coherent plan for secure and sustainable funding for vital frontline women’s services”
The EVAW coalition says the strategy must;
• Join up policies and services across government at national and local levels, including on health, education and immigration.
• Stop violence and abuse of women in the first place through campaigns to change attitudes and work with young people in schools, rather than just picking up the pieces afterwards through the courts and criminal justice system.
• Guarantee adequate resources to deliver the strategy, particularly
funding for frontline women’s services that support victims, such asrefuges, rape crisis centres and services for ethnic minority women, many of which are threatened with closure.