According to a report published by leading domestic abuse charity Women’s Aid, every pound invested in domestic abuse support services represents a £9 saving to the public purse.
The report finds 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. Women’s Aid is launching the report at its annual Public Policy Conference today.
As Women’s Aid’s report shows, specialist domestic abuse services not only provide lifesaving support to women and children experiencing abuse, but the support they provide also reduces pressure on other services such as the NHS.
Farah Nazeer, chief executive of Women’s Aid, said: “The amount of investment required to make this immense difference to so many lives is incredibly low within the context of government spending.”
“At a time when we see 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 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 and ease the strain on services like the NHS. We cannot afford to push these families aside.”
Mark Morrin, the 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 save money in the long run.”
To ensure provision is available and accessible to all who need it, Women’s Aid recommends the investment come with ring-fenced funding for specialist services led ‘by and for’ Black and minoritised women, deaf and disabled women, and the LGBT+ community.
This level of funding will not only provide these services with the minimum level of resources they need to carry out life-saving work but bring significant cost savings to other public services.
Women’s Aid’s Public Policy Conference 2023’s speakers include the charity’s patron Melanie Brown MBE, Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer, Minister for Safeguarding Sarah Dines MP, and journalist and broadcaster Victoria Derbyshire.