Report – Findings and recommendations to future Government for long-term domestic abuse funding – Women’s Aid

On May 23rd, 2024, the national domestic abuse charity Women’s Aid, brought together representatives across all major political parties to share findings of a ground-breaking paper, Funding Safer Futures: A government pathway for the quantity and quality of funding required to help women and children experiencing domestic abuse, detailing how funding for the domestic abuse sector could be improved and the target £427 million investment reached by the next Government.  

Read the full report here.

About the report

The tragic reality is that 1 in 4 women will experience domestic at some point in their lives and the domestic abuse sector is facing ongoing challenges that leave many survivors facing a postcode lottery of support, with women and children being turned away at their point of need. Women’s Aid has been calling for sustainable investment in specialist support services for survivors, which has the potential to save the taxpayer money.

In 2022, the economic and social costs of domestic abuse in England were estimated to be just under £71 billion. With the adequate provision of specialist support services, at the cost of £427 million, the domestic abuse sector could save the public purse as much as £23 billion a year. Every pound invested in domestic abuse support services will see a saving to the Exchequer of at least £9.  

The Women’s Aid event presented the findings of a new paper which detailed how this investment could be achieved by a future government. Women’s Aid have reviewed current spending on local domestic abuse services and estimate that, in 2023-24, the government spent £195 million on local domestic abuse services in England, resulting in a £232 million shortfall compared to the £427 million needed.

The report sets out how a future government could deliver the level of funding required, by: building on the £195 million currently being spent within DLUHC, the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office; securing new investment from further government departments; and generating savings from scrapping programmes  – such as the Reducing Parental Conflict scheme – which are not supporting safety and recovery for survivors of domestic abuse.  

The paper’s recommendations also include calls for:   

  • An end to one-off, short-term national funding pots which fail to meet demand and tend to focus on ‘innovative’ project instead of core service delivery   
  • Ring-fenced ‘by and for’ funding that will ensure ongoing support for minoritised women, alongside provision for women with no recourse to public funds (NRPF)  
  • A commitment to cross-Government definitions of specialist services and a pledge from all relevant Government departments to adhere to these definitions, thus making sure the funding goes to the right services for survivors  
  • Robust statutory guidance to ensure accountability and make it clear what commissioners ‘must’ and ‘should’ do when it comes to commissioning domestic abuse provision   
  • A national oversight mechanism to be established to provide robust accountability for the provision of support to adult and child survivors  
  • The next government to immediately undertake a review of funding for local and national domestic abuse, and wider VAWG, support services 
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