The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced a new £3 million funding boost to support projects delivering vital services for women and girls experiencing domestic abuse and sexual violence.
At a visit to Kiran Support Services in Waltham Forest, a small grassroots charity supported by City Hall funding, Sadiq marked the second stage of the Mayor’s Violence Against Women and Girls Grassroots Fund, which is working to support organisations focused on ending violence against women and girls in minoritised and marginalised communities.
The investment is part of the Mayor’s dedicated and targeted action to support local community organisations who are working with women and girls from Black, Asian and minority-ethnic communities and other minoritised groups, including the LGBTQ+ community.
The action comes amid concerns from charities that the cost-of-living crisis is making it difficult for women to escape from their abusers with women forced to choose between staying in an abusive situation or facing financial hardship.
The latest round of grants to help those most in need is open, bringing the Mayor’s total support for these grassroots groups to £6 million. It will help up to 45 projects across London to provide thousands of more women, girls and families with a wide range of vital support, including counselling, safe accommodation and legal advice.
Applications for a two-year grant of up to £100,000 for individual organisations are open until the end of this month and the Mayor is calling on grassroots projects across London to apply via the London Community Foundation website.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:
“The rising cost of living is having an unprecedented impact on women and children experiencing domestic abuse and on the life-saving services they need. Local grassroots services know their communities and are best placed to help, but they need support to survive these challenging times.
That’s why I’ve announced a further £3m in new funding to help small, grassroots organisations to provide vital services for victims and survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence, including safe accommodation, counselling and legal advice.”
Kate Markey, Chief Executive, London Community Foundation, said:
“Dynamics related to poverty, race, culture, community, religion, and language mean women’s experiences and the challenges they face in our city are layered, with many being marginalised, unable to access the same opportunities as others. The Violence Against Women and Girls Grassroots Fund was ground-breaking because it recognised, valued and supported grassroots organisations working with survivors from minoritised communities. It has been an honour to work in partnership with the Mayor and the Mayors Office for Police and Crime and the 41 specialist grassroots organisations to deliver this vital fund.”
Responding to the announcement, Lizzy Dobres, policy and practice manager at Women’s Aid said:
“We welcome the Mayor of London’s £3 million fund for grassroots organisations tackling violence against women and girls in London. The current cost of living crisis is detrimental to specialist services that support survivors of abuse. This fund could be a lifeline for vital services struggling to stay open.
We are particularly pleased that the fund will support organisations working with Black and minoritised survivors. Our latest research found 67% of Women’s Aid members said if the cost-of-living crisis continues without intervention, services would have to stop supporting survivors. This rose to 85% of services run by and for Black and minoritised women. We cannot afford to leave women and children behind and they must be supported with needs-led specialist domestic abuse services.”
However, Lizzy stated that the women’s sector has “continued to rely on short-term grants and bursts of funding”. She continued:
“The government must provide a long-term solution to this. Women’s Aid’s research suggests a minimum of £427million per year is needed to support specialist frontline services. When the cost of domestic abuse to society is £78 billion, this funding ask would not only benefit women and children experiencing abuse but the taxpayer too.
[The] fund is a positive step, but we need long-term national action to support services in every area of the country. Women and children’s lives should not be put at risk by economic pressures.”