By S Neeraj Krishna
TWENTY-FIVE charities supporting domestic abuse victims and their families during the pandemic will receive a “£1 million boost” to sustain their work, the UK government said on Wednesday (16).
The allocation is part of a £10 million emergency fund announced earlier to “support those providers facing the most difficulties during the pandemic and help to provide over 1,500 new beds and re-open 344 bed-spaces”.
The beneficiaries on the government list included Roshini Birmingham, which works to protect black, Asian and minority ethnic communities affected by domestic abuse, “including forced marriage and honour-based abuse”.
Other charities highlighted were London Black Women’s Project, which supports BAME women and children affected by domestic abuse in London, and Salford Women’s Aid, provides temporary shelter to women and children fleeing domestic violence in Greater Manchester area.
In May, the government had earmarked £28 million to help survivors of domestic abuse and their children while announcing a £76 million support package for “the most vulnerable in society” during the pandemic.
A statement from the ministry of housing, communities and local governance said “extra weight” had been given to funding applications “organisations providing specialist support”, especially to “diverse groups, such as BAME and LGBT victims”.
“BAME communities sometimes face cultural pressures such as forced marriage, female genital mutilation, language barriers and honour-based abuse. Specialist providers tailor support to women and children affected by these issues,” it noted.
Minister for rough sleeping and housing Kelly Tolhurst said the £10 million funding was aimed at helping domestic abuse charities “meet additional pressures during the pandemic”.
“We will continue to engage with the sector to ensure victims and their children can access support including ensuring that councils provide safe accommodation for those that need it,” she added.
Beverly Williams, chair of Amadudu Women’s Refuge, said the funding “has been vital during the pandemic”.
She added that it “enabled women from black and minority ethnic communities to receive a quality service and support during this difficult time”.
After the coronavirus outbreak, the charity had to increase staff hours “as calls and enquiries for refuge space increased and particularly from women from BAME backgrounds”.
Other charities that have so far received funding included OYA, Ashiana Network, Asha Projects, and Anah Project.
OYA is a consortium of BAME organisations that seeks to end violence against women and girls, deliver frontline and sustainability support services across London.
Ashiana Network based in Waltham Forest provides specialist services for women and girls who have experienced or are at risk of violence, including harmful practices. It focuses primarily on south Asian, Turkish and Middle Eastern women fleeing violence.
Lambeth-based Asha Projects, which is run for and managed by local south Asian women, supports victims and the vulnerable across London. It plays a crucial role in providing assistance based on an “understanding of sociocultural norms, values and issues relating to forms of violence against women and girls that are specific to South Asian communities”.
Anah Project, based in West Yorkshire, provides accommodation, advice and crisis support to women and girls fleeing domestic abuse, especially from BAME and refugee communities.
The government’s landmark Domestic Abuse Bill, currently before Parliament, will make it mandatory for councils to provide safe accommodation for victims and their children in England.
The bill has entered the House of Lords, and was expected to move for Royal Assent later this year.