.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Friday, May 01, 2020

Is the Welsh Government failing victims of domestic violence?

Two days ago I posted on the concerns of the victims' commissioner that refuges providing sanctuary to victims of domestic violence are running out of space, with many full or effectively closed amid an “epidemic inside this pandemic”.

Dame Vera Baird QC warned members of the House of Commons justice select committee that a “perfect storm” of problems is in danger of overwhelming support services for those trying to escape violent and abusive partners. This is of course a devolved issue, but the survey published by Women’s Aid on Tuesday, which found that over two-thirds of survivors contacted this month said that domestic abuse was escalating under lockdown, is disturbing.

I concluded that all the national governments need to address this problem as a matter of urgency and that more resources must be allocated to domestic abuse helplines, counselling and support and refuges to meet the surge in need generated by these unique circumstances.

Unfortunately, the Welsh Government do not appear to have got that message. According to this article on wales-on-line, Welsh Women's Aid claim that they have provided no extra cash to deal with domestic violence since the coronavirus crisis began.

They say that the £1.2m to fund community accommodation and £200,000 for furnishings, announced by Welsh Ministers, were already allocated - the £1.2 million was originally announced in December 2019 and the £200,000 is a 2019/20 capital underspend which had been promised last quarter:

In a damning letter to deputy minister and chief whip, Jane Hutt, Welsh Women's Aid CEO Sara Kirkpatrick accused the Welsh Government of "giving false hope to survivors".

She wrote: "While the Welsh Government continues to allude to funds in its announcements, there appears to be a clear disconnect between this and the process of money being allocated to front line VAWDASV (violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence) services.

"This gives false hope to survivors that services will continue to have the capacity to meet their needs, when in reality, we know that even before this crisis 512 survivors were unable to be supported in refuges because of a lack of service space, capacity or resources."

This is strong stuff from a sector, which in the past has been accused of kow-towing to Ministers. Surely the Welsh Government should respond with a proper allocation of money and resources to deal with this escalating problem.
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?