Press Release

9 April 2020

Refuge responds to Chancellor’s charity funding package

Responding to the Chancellor’s announcement today of a funding package for charities, in particular the £360 million for organisations providing vital frontline services, including those supporting survivors of domestic abuse, Sandra Horley CBE, Chief Executive of national domestic abuse charity Refuge said:

‘Refuge is delighted with the Chancellor’s announcement today and its clear recognition of the life-saving work our frontline services carry out every day.

Refuge saw a 120% increase in calls and contacts to its National Domestic Abuse Helpline on Monday, compared with the previous day – showing the sheer scale of need from women in the country today.

On any given day Refuge supports more than 6,500 women and children across its services. As the UK’s largest specialist domestic abuse service provider, since the outbreak of COVID-19 we have moved quickly to ensure that our services have continued to run safely and effectively, ensuring no woman who needs us is turned away.

These are unprecedented times. Refuge has worked day and night to mobilise its critical services, for example moving our National Helpline from a cyber-secure central office to offsite locations, whilst maintaining security and confidentiality. Our loss of income from pre-organised events, which are rightly paused or postponed during lockdown, has been a great concern for us, and we’ve worked round the clock to make sure our services remain open and safe.

Refuge stands ready to work closely with the Government to ensure that an adequate portion of this funding is ring-fenced for Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) services. The level of funding must be enough to ensure domestic abuse survivors can access vital services.

Almost one in three women across England and Wales aged between 16-59 will experience domestic abuse at some point during their life. We know that abusive partners often use isolation as a tool of abuse, and that while the lockdown is not causing abuse, it can aggravate pre-existing behaviours in abusive men.

Refuge’s services are needed more than ever, and we look forward to working with the Government to ensure its welcome charity support package protects the services that domestic abuse survivors need. Women’s lives depend on it.’

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