Victims of domestic abuse will receive direct payments to help them leave abusive relationships in a new trial as part of the Government’s Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan.
The £300,000 of funding is being provided to Women’s Aid and will provide one-off payments of £250 (rising to £500 where a victim has children) to help victims flee their abusers. The money will help pay for essentials such as groceries, nappies, sanitary products and rent on their previous property whilst they are in a refuge, or a deposit on new accommodation when they leave a refuge.
The trial follows Women’s Aid research which found that almost three-quarters of women living with their abuser are finding it harder to leave as a result of the rising cost of living. Two-thirds of survivors also said that abusers are using the cost of living increase as a tool for coercive control to justify further restricting access to money.
The Government recently announced plans to introduce tougher sentences for domestic abusers who kill their partners or ex-partners.
Commenting on the trial Home Secretary Suella Braverman said:
“It is heart-breaking that vulnerable people find themselves trapped with their abusers without the financial means to leave and find safety.
We’re absolutely committed to supporting victims in the way that best meets their needs and provides them with the opportunity to rebuild their lives after their trauma.
I am proud to be working closely with Women’s Aid to deliver these payments, which could change, and potentially save, the lives of hundreds of victims.”
The money is being allocated to Women’s Aid because of their “national reach, expertise and existing infrastructure to provide… urgent financial support to victims of domestic abuse who need it most.” Women’s Aid will then provide further assistance for victims to set themselves up sustainably, for example by accessing benefits or finding employment.
Farah Nazeer, chief executive of Women’s Aid, said:
“This fund is an excellent start in supporting survivors who desperately need emergency funds to leave their abuser, and an important breakthrough moment. This fund really could be the difference between life and death for the most vulnerable. This fund is thanks to the survivors of domestic abuse who have campaigned for this with us and other organisations, and we thank the government for listening to their voices.”