Women's Aid, a national domestic violence charity, has warned that Government plans to cut services helping domestic abuse victims could have a ‘devastating effect’.
Their recent survey discovered that 60% of refuge services and 72% of outreach services had no funding agreed from April 1st, meaning more than 70,000 women and their children across the country might not be able to access a service after April; which will put more lives at risk.
Women's Aid reports that two women every week in England & Wales are killed by a former or current partner. The proposed cuts will mean a significant reduction in services that are needed.
The Chief Executive of Women’s Aid has called for the Government to rethink its plans given the work undertaken over the last 40 years to provide the services needed, especially when the need far exceeds the services currently available in any event.
The report was published as the Home Secretary Theresa May prepares to outline Government plans to tackle domestic violence against women and girls. In reply the Home office stated, "This is why, despite the difficult economic climate, the Home Office is providing ring-fenced funding of £28 million directly to specialist services over the next four years; and the Ministry of Justice is providing £10.5 million over the next three years for rape crisis centres. We are prioritising the issue centrally and we expect local areas to follow our lead."
The Times have additionally reported that the Home Secretary will be ‘accused of "hypocrisy" as it emerges Britain is trying to water down an international agreement to protect women against domestic and sexual violence’. The Times claims that documents leaked to them reveal that Britain wants the suggestion to be replaced with a weaker phrase.
Our advice is to 'get expert advice as soon as possible'. We understand that this is an emotional, frightening and difficult time. An informal chat about any issues that are of concern to you may be all that is needed, however care needs to be taken to reflect on other issues such as the effect that this behaviour has on children and dependants; and your life outside of the home.
Domestic abuse can be either physical violence or mental abuse, it contributes to the breakdown of family relationships or it can happen because of a relationship breaking down. Domestic abuse often has direct and indirect effects on someone’s life, and it's vital to take the first step to end the cycle of violence and break free.
If you or someone you know has suffered physical or sexual abuse you should report it to the Police, and call our Solicitors for a free consultation on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online.
2013 Update: Slater and Gordon Lawyers are currently representing over 65 people who suffered sexual or physical abuse arising out of the Jimmy Savile allegations; and helping victims of abuse at Chethams School of Music and the Royal North Music College.