Refuge responds to the Government’s Violence Against Women and Girls strategy

8th March 2016

This International Women’s Day, the Government has launched its updated Violence Against Women and Girls strategy. Sandra Horley CBE, chief executive of Refuge, says: 

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“Refuge welcomes the £80 million of funding for the domestic violence sector.

“On the surface, £80 million over four years may seem like a lot of money. However, when you take into account the gaping hole left by year-on-year reductions in funding from local authorities, it is clear that this will not bridge the gaps nor bring back the services which have been wiped out in recent years.

“Since 2011, Refuge has experienced cuts to 80% of its services, with some being cut by up to 50%.

“The Government has reduced local authorities’ budgets, forcing them to cut funding for services like ours. The option to access pots of central government money does not make up for this. The reality is that services have reduced and organisations like Refuge must jump through increasing numbers of hoops to access funding.

“Domestic violence costs this country almost £16 billion a year. If we are ever to see a reduction in that cost, the Government needs to plough investment into the domestic violence sector. The Government must develop a more sustainable, long-term funding model, with centralised, ring-fenced funding for domestic violence provision.

“Refuge welcomes the strategy’s emphasis improving commissioning practices – something Refuge has long argued for. Refuge hopes that the Government’s ‘blueprint’ for good practice will be based on robust evidence of what works, and will be supported by regular evaluations so that real change comes about.

“Refuge hopes the detail of the strategy will provide transformational change – because that is what is needed.”

For more information, please contact the Refuge press office on 0207 395 7731 or email press@refuge.org.uk