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£1.5m new Welsh Government funding will help victims and survivors of domestic abuse to Live Fear Free

Wednesday July 1st, 2020

The Deputy Minister and Chief Whip, Jane Hutt, today announced that VAWDASV (violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence) services in Wales are set to receive an additional £1.5m in revenue to help them respond to increased demands on services as a result of Covid-19.Government Opportunities

The new funding is in addition to the existing £5.25m announced in this year’s budget, and will aim to help VAWDASV service providers to cope with an expected spike in demand once lockdown measures are lifted.

Welsh Government will work with VAWDASV partners and specialist providers to allocate funding on a needs-led basis, and in the simplest and quickest way possible. The following areas will be prioritised for support:

Helping VAWDASV service providers to prepare for and meet additional demand for support as lockdown measures are eased, including taking precautions against the spread of Covid-19

Support for children and young people suffering domestic abuse

Staff training to provide cover for members of staff who are shielding, and to meet increased staffing needs due to demand

Services to support behavioural change in perpetrators of abuse

Additional resources to reduce backlogs and free up capacity for those needing urgent support

The Minister also launched the next phase of the ‘Home shouldn’t be a place of fear’ campaign to support victims and survivors of domestic abuse through lockdown and beyond.

Around 1 in 3 women, and 1 in 6 men, experience domestic abuse at some point in their lives. It is impossible to measure the scale of abuse taking place during lockdown, but there is strong evidence to suggest it’s on the rise.

Visits to the Live Fear Free website have increased by 144% in the last month and there were 1,683 homepage visits made in April compared with 690 in March.

There is a definite link between life pressures – for example economic hardship, fears about employment, and the frustration arising from current lockdown restrictions – and abuse, though there is never an excuse.

During lockdown, calls to domestic abuse helplines have changed significantly, becoming more complex, and more lengthy (now nearly twice the 3.18 minute pre-Covid-19 average). Services are beginning to hear from victims who tell them that once lockdown is over they intend to leave their abusers.

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