Keeping women and children safe in our city must be a priority for our candidates running to become MPs. In the lead up to the General Election on the 12th December 2019, Solace calls for their commitment to act against violence and abuse and create a safer London for everyone.
Will you act to end Violence Against Women and Girls?
As the leading Violence Against Women & Girls charity in London, working in your constituency to support almost 23,000 women, children & young people annually, we are writing to you in advance of the election on 12th December 2019 to draw your attention to the scale of violence against women and girls in our community, and to ask you, and your Party, to pledge that if elected you will take action on this.
Domestic violence has skyrocketed in London over the last eight years, with offences up 85 percent to 85,000 in 2018. More alarmingly, between October 2018 and September 2019, there were more than 112,000 instances of domestic abuse reported to the Metropolitan Police. Tragically, in 2018 there were 29 domestic homicides in London, up from just 9 the previous year; and reports of rape and sexual assault increased by over 20% last year with the indication that it will continue to rise further in 2019.
Action needs to be taken before more lives are destroyed or taken. National figures showing demand for women’s services has risen by 83% while funding has fallen by 50%. In London, women are being forced to choose between abuse and homelessness as they are dramatically failed by the housing system.
Solace’s Asks go beyond London. Your commitment to three key areas of change will not only radically improve the lives of all those affected by abuse, it will help save lives.
Prioritise the reintroduction of the Domestic Abuse Bill and back vital amends that ensure no survivor is left behind.
This landmark legislation has the potential to save lives and it cannot face further delays.
- Provide an accurate definition of domestic abuse that recognises the gendered nature of domestic abuse.
- Commit to fully funded specialist services for all survivors of abuse
- Ensure equal protection and support for migrant women
- Ensure safe child contact and family court system
- Tackle the housing barriers facing survivors of abuse (see below for further details)
Commit to provide safe, secure & suitable housing for women & children fleeing abuse.
Our recent report, Safe as Houses, evidences that the lack of safe housing is the number one so we are calling on support for our long-term commitment to putting housing at the top of the agenda for women fleeing abuse by ensuring;
- London homes are allocated to women fleeing abuse (At least 5% of Local Authority social housing lettings, plus 5% of all permanent new social homes built in London, are allocated each year to women and children made homeless through abuse.)
- Every London borough ensure women made homeless from abuse are made a priority for safe, secure, suitable housing.
- Every London borough puts in place strategies to ensure a clear pathway for women threatened with homelessness or made homeless due to abuse.
Placing a statutory duty on all local authorities to provide suitable accommodation for those fleeing abuse
We look forward to receiving your response, in relation to our key asks, prior to the election.
CEO, Solace Women's Aid