Funding uncertainty continues for domestic abuse and sexual violence services

The latest State of the Sector report, launched today on Dydd Santes Dwynwen (25th January) from Welsh Women’s Aid, reveals continued funding uncertainty for many vital specialist services for survivors of violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence in Wales.

Welsh Women’s Aid State of the Sector report found;

  • The Live Fear Free helpline managed 33,642 calls, an 11% increase on the year before.
  • 12,166 survivors of abuse were supported by our membership of specialist services.
  • 431 survivors referred to refuge were unable to be supported due to a lack of resources and capacity.
  • Every 3 months an average 266 children and young people are supported in refuge services.
  • 95% of survivors felt safer after using refuge based support.
  • Referrals to community based support increased by 32% in the last year.
  • 1008 referrals were made to our sexual violence member services during 2017/18, and in just one month 292 women were on waiting lists for counselling support.

Whilst 63% of services confirmed they have some elements of their funding secured for longer than a year and 40% expected to gain additional funding in 2019, we also found worrying cuts experienced by services, including:

  • 41% of services confirmed they were not fully funded for the year ending March 2019.
  • 36% of services confirmed they will lose funding for an area of work and 14% reported their funding was insecure for the year ahead. The same percentage (36%) reported they would likely lose essential support staff because of funding cuts.
  • 36% of services continue to deliver support without dedicated funding.

Eleri Butler, CEO, Welsh Women’s Aid said;
“As we move into our 41st year of the Women’s Aid movement in Wales, it is extremely worrying that our latest State of the Sector report still indicates that the same funding challenges face specialist services today, as they have done over the last four decades. Too many services rely on annual funding allocations, and many have insufficient levels of funding to meet increasing levels of demand for support. This comes in the same week that UK Government announced its draft Domestic Abuse Bill for England and Wales and published evidence that the estimated cost to society of domestic abuse stands at £66 billion a year.”

“Imagine if the state ring-fenced a small portion of this cost to society to invest in specialist services, including refuges and rape crisis provision. Just 10% of this budget could end the ‘quick fix’ approach and deliver a long-term, whole system response to ending violence against women that really makes a difference to survivors as well as deliver prevention in our communities. In Wales, Government committed to provide sustainable funding for specialist services in its 2016 national strategy. Services have called for at least 5-year sustainable funding to enable them to meet need and reduce levels of abuse in their communities. We are still waiting for this commitment to become reality. It would be a fitting legacy to St Dwynwen, who herself survived rape and an attempted forced marriage to devote her life to promoting loving relationships, that no one is turned away from life-saving and life-changing support when they need help and that, in Wales, we ensure everyone can live free from fear and abuse.”

State of the Sector 2018

Cyflwr Y Sector 2018

Notes to editors
• To arrange interviews contact Gwendolyn Sterk 07553 374402 [email protected] or Becky James 07544 300983 [email protected]
• Anyone in need of help, information and support in Wales can call Wales Live Fear Free Helpline on 0808 80 10 800 for free and in confidence, at any time of day or night. Support is available in Welsh, English and other languages (through LanguageLine), Typetalk and Text support is available, as is 24-hour Live Chat.
• Welsh Women’s Aid is the Wales umbrella body for violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence specialist services in the third sector in Wales. Our aim is to end such violence and abuse and ensure survivors have access to high-quality, needs-led and strengths-based support so that they can live safe, healthy and equal lives free from abuse. We act as the voice of the specialist sector to influence and improve policy, legislation and practice for the benefit of survivors, working in partnership with services, survivors and other stakeholders to end to violence against women in all its forms.
• More information is available at