Solace Women’s Aid responds to the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review settlement

Despite no mention of it in the Chancellor’s statement to the House of Commons, the Treasury’s Spending Review 2020 includes a settlement for the new duty on local authorities contained in the Domestic Abuse Bill and expected to become law early in 2021. This duty requires tier 1 councils to assess need and commission domestic abuse accommodation support services for their areas.

The Treasury announced a funding settlement of £98 million in addition to existing commitments, bringing the total to £125 million for safe accommodation for women and children across England. £40 million was also announced for the Ministry of Justice to support victims of crime, including domestic abuse victims. No funding for community services or for other forms of violence against women and girls was announced in the settlement.

Commenting on the settlement, Solace CEO  said,

“We welcome confirmation of funding for the new duty that was quietly released today, as the uncertainty over it has made it difficult for commissioners to plan beyond March next year, which has a knock on impact on our services and the women and children who rely on them.

“But the amount provided is nowhere near enough, particularly when the duty will be overlaid on a sector still reeling from the increase in abuse experienced by women and children under lockdown, and there is no additional funding for victims and survivors of other forms of violence against women and girls. The Government has consistently denied that decoupling domestic abuse from other forms of violence would result in the deprioritisation of those other forms. Yet this settlement does exactly that.

“The Chancellor said the Government’s number one priority for this Spending Review is getting through Coronavirus. I see no evidence of that in his Government’s failures to recognise and address the shadow pandemic of violence against women and children that we are dealing with on a daily basis.”

Solace, along with EVAW and other VAWG sector organisations, sent a submission to the Treasury and wrote to the Chancellor setting out the minimum needed to address the needs of survivors, calculated at £2.3 billion in total.

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