Dear political party leaders,
Over 16 Days of Activism and in the lead up to the 2024 General Election, we are asking all political parties to support our ‘Invest to Save' pillar of our manifesto. This calls for full funding for domestic abuse services -, including refuges and community-based support services – which is critical for the survival of services across the UK.
Last year, the economic and social costs of domestic abuse in England were just under £78 billion. We are wasting money and it’s costing lives.
Urgent investment in women's specialist domestic abuse services is needed. Domestic abuse is a national emergency and must be a national priority. It affects us all and we all have a part to play in ending it.
Our economic analysis found for every pound invested in domestic abuse services, we will see a saving to the public purse of at least £9.
Specialist services are experts at meeting the needs of the communities they serve. However, we know in England there remains a 23% shortfall in bed spaces in refuges and 50% of all the referrals received by community-based support services were rejected.
Increased funding in specialist women’s and ‘by and for’ domestic abuse services could not only help the next government to save £3,898,100,000 by reducing duplication of effort and pressure on public services, but more importantly it will also save lives.
We have heard from survivors and our local member services who have told us:
“I have been yo yo-ed around mental health services and the GP, not really getting the help that I need. I sometimes feel like I am still in my abusive home and nothing in my life has changed.” - Quote from survivor of domestic abuse
“Our reserves can only be spent once, when they're gone that will be the end of any support we can give to staff and survivors.” - Women’s Aid member service
In the run up to the next general election, we – alongside everyone who has signed this letter – are asking you to make domestic abuse a top priority by committing to investing in specialist domestic abuse services in your party’s manifesto. You can read more about our three pillars for change - including ‘Invest to Save’ - as part of a whole system response, in Women’s Aid’s General Election manifesto, where you will also read a call to action from our Patron, Melanie Brown MBE who states:
“No matter which political party you are in, I’m asking you for your commitment today that domestic abuse is an issue you will prioritise.”
We hope we can count on your commitment to investing to save money and most importantly, women's and children's lives.
Farah Nazeer, Chief Executive Women’s Aid