Comic Relief and the Ministry of Justice have launched a £2m digital capability fund for organisations in England and Wales that support survivors and victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence.
The fund is for projects led by, and for those who work with communities facing racial inequality, people with disabilities, or LGBTQ+ people.
It will offer grants, alongside digital coaching, to smaller organisations. This will support activities that improve their digital and remote capacity to deliver services.
Organisations with incomes of between £75,000 and £10m can apply for grants of between £5,000 to £70,000. Comic Relief expects to make up to 25 investments.
This programme is part of a £40m initiative announced by the Ministry of Justice earlier this year for specialist support services to help survivors. Comic Relief will deliver £1.7m of the Ministry of Justice funding.
Investments will be distributed in September 2021 and run for up to six months, so funds must be spent by March 2022.
Aleema Shivji, executive director of impact and investment at Comic Relief, said by offering practical support and advice at every stage of the process, charities will be able to work out “exactly where digital can really make a difference for both service users and staff”.
Charities reported a 200% increase in calls and people accessing web chat services since the first lockdown, with some survivors feeling at greater risk of harm or deciding to report abuse for the first time.
The fund is now open for applications online and will close at midday on July 19. Comic Relief will also hold Q&A sessions via Zoom to provide support during the application window.