An additional £2.4m has been committed by the Welsh Government to tackle violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence (VAWDASV).
The new funds, formally announced last week by Finance Minister Rebecca Evans as part of the draft Budget, add to the £5m already assigned by the Welsh Government for third sector organisations, local authorities and projects for services and programmes across Wales.
The draft Budget announcement is split into three pots:
- £1.2m for third sector organisations to acquire flexible accommodation for families;
- £969,000 for organisations to purchase, maintain or upgrade buildings and equipment to support VAWDASV services;
- £250,000 for 5 additional projects across Wales.
Statistics show women are more likely to be affected by domestic abuse and, as they are predominately the care-givers within their families, they are also more likely to flee with children. The £1.2m will enable organisations to acquire community-based housing which can better meet the needs of families where a refuge may not be appropriate, or as the next step after a refuge, known as ‘move-on’ accommodation.
The £969,000 funding will assist voluntary and statutory bodies in acquiring buildings or carrying out renovations to improve their support services. These improvements include enhancing disabled access, providing distinct waiting areas to separate victims and perpetrators, and enabling adaptations to communal refuges to create private ‘move-on’ accommodation.
Organisations will also be able to invest in new equipment, for example, buying technology which will enable support workers to better reach victims in rural areas.
The £250,000 includes funding to train staff to support BAME victims, support those affected by mental health and substance misuse problems, reduce waiting lists for counselling, develop approaches to supporting perpetrators, together with raising awareness about domestic abuse and violence among those who work with children and young people.
The Deputy Minister and Chief Whip said:
“We are determined to tackle the scourge of violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence.
“Whilst there is a fundamental need to focus on prevention, it is equally vital that victims and survivors are wholly supported at the same time. This draft Budget announcement ensures we are better placed as a government to take action to do just that.”
Women’s Aid in Rhondda Cynon Taff will provide ‘move-on’ accommodation from April 2020, supported by Welsh Government funding. Their CEO Charlie Arthur said: “Women’s Aid RCT have recently purchased a residential property in the Rhondda valleys to provide move on accommodation for families who no longer require the intensive support of a refuge but are not yet ready to move into their own homes.
“We often see families with considerable safeguarding concerns or individuals with poor mental health that need an interim stepping stone to support to successfully move on to independent living through a phased approach.”
If you’ve experienced any kind of domestic abuse or want to help someone you know, call the Welsh Government-funded free and confidential Live Fear Free helpline on 0808 8010 800 or visit livefearfree.gov.wales to message an adviser 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.