Every pound invested in domestic abuse support services represents a £9 saving to the public purse, according to a report published by leading domestic abuse charity Women’s Aid.
The report – Investing to save: the economic case for funding specialist domestic abuse support – suggests that the economic case is “clear” for the UK government to commit to investing a minimum of £427 million per year to fund specialist services for women and their children across England.
Specialist domestic abuse services not only provide lifesaving support to women and children experiencing abuse, the support they provide also reduces pressure on other services such as the NHS, said the charity.
“The amount of investment required to make this immense difference to so many lives is actually incredibly low within the context of government spending,” said Farah Nazeer, chief executive of Women’s Aid, adding:
“At a time when we are seeing news story after news story about systems failing women, decision-makers cannot ignore domestic abuse: women are dying week in, week out, and countless children are living in fear. The long-term impact is staggering.
By choosing to under-fund specialist domestic abuse services, a government is saying that the lives of these women and children matter less. This message will cost lives: with so many barriers to survivors seeking support – whether that’s fear for their safety, or factors like financial stability or their child’s education – they need to know that what they are experiencing is seen and understood. They need to know they will be heard, believed and helped.
With this investment, this government has the opportunity to save countless lives as well as ease the strain on services like the NHS. We cannot afford to push these families aside.”
Mark Morrin, principal research consultant at ResPublica, said:
“It is time for a greater focus on the benefits of investing in services at an appropriate level. Not least because a whole-system approach to the design and funding of services can better address the underlying causes of demand. It can minimise recurring issues, maximise resources, and actually save money in the long run.”
To ensure provision is available and accessible to all who need it, Women’s Aid has recommended the investment come with ring-fenced funding for specialist services led “by and for” Black and minoritised women, d/Deaf and disabled women, and the LGBT+ community.