Fundraising Magazine's Most Influential Fundraisers list is back!

The online poll is open to nominations for anyone working in the sector, whether at charities, umbrella bodies, regulators, agencies, consultancies or independently. We are looking for diverse, talented and accomplished individuals whom you feel are making a real difference to their organisations and the wider sector.

Nominate today!

Women’s Aid fears over half of refuge and outreach services face closure due to funding cuts

08 Mar 2011 News

Over half of the services that help victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse could face closure as a result of “devastating” government cuts, a charity has warned.

Over half of the services that help victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse could face closure as a result of “devastating” government cuts, a charity has warned.

Women’s Aid, the national domestic violence charity, found 60 per cent of all refuge services and 72 per cent of outreach services will have no funding from April 1 2011.

The British Crime Survey revealed that two women a week in England and Wales are already killed by a former or current partner and the proposed cuts could lead to a significant increase.

Compared with findings from 2009 it concluded that nationally over 70,000 women and children might not be able to access the service.

Nicola Harwin, chief executive of Women’s Aid, said: “We are particularly concerned that the removal of ring-fenced funding for Supporting People last year coupled with cuts to local authority budgets has created a situation where councils across the country are making disproportionate cuts and rash decisions at the expense of protecting some of the most vulnerable people in society."

The Home Office estimates that each domestic homicide costs the government £1 million.

“Reducing specialist domestic violence services will inevitably result in increased demands on other shrinking services such as healthcare, police and social service departments,” she added.

Women’s Aid is urging all MPs to join the national Save Survivors’ Services campaign to protect lifesaving violence against women services in their constituencies. A meeting was held earlier today by Women’s Aid on Domestic and Sexual Violence at the House of Commons to discuss the national situation with MPs and representatives from Women’s Aid member organisations.

“We still only have ¾ of the bed spaces we need, yet we are in a position where we could potentially lose half of our services,” warned Harwin.

A Home Office spokesman said: "The provision of specialist services for local areas is and always will be a matter for local councils. We understand the pressure they are under to make savings. However, we have been clear that Violence Against Women and Girls services should not be the easy cut.

Despite the economic climate the Home Office is providing ring-fenced funding of £28 million directly to specialist services over the next four years and the Ministry of Justice is providing £10.5 million for rape crises centres over the next three years.

Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for the Communities and Local Government said he expects local authorities to behave reasonably in managing their relationships with voluntary community groups and to take into consideration the long term consequences.

More on