Our statement on BBC Panorama documentary about running life saving refuge services during Covid-19 & our calls to the Government to urgently act act
Solace Women’s Aid is proud to have worked with Victoria Derbyshire and the BBC on this evening’s important Panorama documentary about domestic abuse and the impact of lockdown on victims and survivors.
Solace thanks Victoria Derbyshire for her powerful, responsible, and sensitive journalism, and for her proven track record of opening up media space for victims and survivors of abuse to speak about their experiences and to campaign for accountability and change.
Solace also thanks Victoria Derbyshire for speaking about her experiences of growing up in a home where domestic abuse was part of life. Our specialist services also work with children and young people impacted by domestic abuse – we understand the long term devastating impact this has on children through to adulthood.
We also know that by Victoria Derbyshire using her platform to speak about her personal experiences and show solidarity – it will give confidence to others to do the same and seek help. Thank you, Victoria.
Running life saving refuge services during Covid-19
Solace has been working around the clock to respond to the needs of women, children, and men escaping domestic abuse and Violence Against Women and Girls during the Covid-19 lockdown. It is due to the tenacity, commitment, and dedication of our frontline staff that we have kept all our refuge services and specialist services running through the lockdown. We have had to adapt our ways of working so our services continue to operate and ensure everyone remains safe during a pandemic. None of this would be possible without our staff – the psychological and physical toll of doing this work is apparent and more so in a lockdown when staff have also been confined to their homes – working long hours and continuing to give care to those they work for and also having to juggle their increased care giving duties at home.
We have continued to work with our partners including Domestic Abuse and VAWG services set up by BAME women for Black and minority ethnic women including those impacted by the governments Hostile Environment policies and No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) which continues to place women with insecure immigration status and their children in harms way, further fueling hunger, homelessness and violence and abuse. Covid-19 lockdown has specifically put migrant women and women with insecure immigration most at risk of harm. Solace again calls on the Home Office and government to immediately scrap NRPF to ensure the most vulnerable women; children and men are protected from domestic abuse and VAWG. Solace calls on the government to ensure specialised BAME refuges and services are fully funded.
Solace call to action
CEO Solace Women’s Aid, has been interviewed for BBC Panorama along with women using our services and Solace staff. She calls on the government to urgently ensure sustainable funding is available for women’s refuges and other life saving support during and beyond this pandemic.
“Domestic abuse and violence against women and girls is a national crisis that is deepening year on year. Ten years of austerity and the decimation of frontline services and now Covid-19 means our work is becoming more and more challenging and is needed more than ever. Women’s refuges and frontline services have never received sustained funding, this is the immediate, urgent and long term change this government needs to action now.”
She added: “Covid-19 lockdowns are making women and children more vulnerable to violence and other harm. Solace calls on the government to ensure ahead of any more localised or national lockdowns, the testimonies of those who have spoken on this evening’s film are heard and acted on. For every voice heard through this BBC film there are many, many more who are silenced. Solace calls on the government to immediately insure VAWG specialists are commissioned to co-produce and develop a crisis Domestic Abuse and VAWG response to the government’s response to tackling Covid-19”.
If you require advice or help we are here for you
You can get free, confidential advice and support through the Solace Adviceline: 0808 802 5565