Funding for Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) support services is fragmented, complex and difficult to understand, leading to some victims and survivors falling through the gaps, a new report commissioned by London Councils reveals.
The report carried out by AVA (Against Violence and Abuse) shines a light on the funding landscape of support services for victims and survivors of VAWG by mapping current available funding and its impact on people’s lives.
It reveals a number of significant challenges support services are facing in accessing funding which undermine their ability to provide a sustainable high quality service. These include the fact that the majority of funding available for VAWG support services is short term, which can mean that key staff are often on notice to be made redundant as the next tranche of funding is sought.
Contracts are also underfunded for the services they are expected to deliver, which has a significant impact in an inflationary environment, and leads to organisations having to use their reserves to make up the difference or rely on unpaid labour by professionals working in this very challenging field.
Specialist services, particularly by-and-for organisations, often provide highly sought-after support to minoritised victims and survivors who struggle to access generic services. These are small, local charities run by and for the community they serve, but they face structural barriers in accessing funding, which leads to them receiving a fraction of the money they need, despite the unique impact they can achieve. The report shows that only 27% of identified funding was received by by-and-for organisations.
The report also emphasises the need for greater join-up in commissioning, as it is currently inconsistent. While there are some examples of collaboration across boroughs, it is not taking place consistently across London.
The report recommends that in order to tackle VAWG effectively, services need greater security to ensure that their support is not limited, and a longer-term approach to funding is needed which is multi-year and available across all forms of support.
Collaboration must also be stronger across London organisations and services, with boroughs sharing best practice in collaborative commissioning. Central government funding should take into account regional complexities at a local level when designing funding streams to ensure funding is accessed effectively.
The report also recommends more medical organisations, including London’s five Integrated Care Boards, consider mental health and therapeutic support for victims and survivors of VAWG as priorities within their strategic plans. It also calls for a single point of communication about funding opportunities and strategy across London to ensure greater join up and to bridge funding gaps.
Cllr Jas Athwal, London Councils Executive Member for Community Safety and Violence Against Women and Girls, said:
“The short-term nature of funding to provide support services means vulnerable Londoners are being exposed to unnecessary risk whilst facing barriers in accessing the vital support they need. We need long term and sustainable funding to ensure that Londoners can access the right support for them and at the right time.
“VAWG is endemic in our society, and it has to stop. London boroughs are working together to highlight it and to do everything we can to tackle it in all its forms, working in conjunction with our partners. London Councils' report sets out just how vital support services for survivors of VAWG are, and why it’s so important that we secure long-term funding guarantees to be able to deliver it.”
Notes to editors:
- The report was commissioned by London Councils and carried out by AVA in partnership with Chayn and Dot Project. It was carried out between October 2022-February 2023.
- To read the report in full, please visit the London Councils website
- AVA Against Violence and Abuse) is a feminist charity committed to a world without gender based violence and abuse. They are an expert and independent national charity particularly recognized for their specialist expertise in multiple disadvantage and children and young people’s work. Their core work includes training, policy, research and consultancy.
- Chayn is a non-profit that creates digital, multilingual resources to support the healing of survivors of gender-based violence.
- Dot Project are a co-operative technology consultancy with a social purpose. They consult, mentor, coach and convene social organisations to help them build digital resilience and confidence.
- The report will be launched at a Parliamentary event on Wednesday 24th May 2023 at 6:45pm.