Time to Act on Sustainability- Welsh Women’s Aid State of the Sector 2020

It’s Time to Act on Sustainability 

This year’s State of the Sector report, Time to Act on Sustainability, focuses on the practicalities and necessity of delivering Welsh Government’s commitment to developing a model of sustainable funding for the Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Sector.It demonstrates the case for sustainable funding for specialist services, the practicalities around developing a workable model, and includes specific actions for responsible agencies. 


The report covers: 

  • The state of a COVID-19 specialist support sector 
  • What survivors deserve: A holistic approach to ending VAWDASV  
  • Current costings: At a glance 
  • The why’s and how’s of a sustainable funding model 
  • Actions: Making sustainable funding for specialist services a reality 


Every year Welsh Women’s Aid produces its annual State of the Sector report, with 2020 set to be no different. In the early months of 2020, the bulk of the report was written. Having looked back at the data our members had been providing throughout the previous year and planning for the work which was to come, we had a clear picture of the action which would be needed to deliver on the commitments of the Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) 2015 Act and protect and support survivors across Wales 

However, in late March, just a few weeks ahead of our planned launch date, the state of our sector drastically changed. 

There is no one person on the globe who’s not felt the effects of the COVD-19 pandemic. The way we interact with one another and the world around us has been upheaved in a way no one could have imagined. Amongst the chaos people have been fighting for their lives, both from the direct effects of the virus and indirectly from situations caused from our response to it. The situation of survivors of Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence, particularly domestic abuse, was a big media topic in the early stages of the pandemic as people came to realise home was not a place of safety for everyone. The rates of violence and abuse increased so significantly during this time that they were universally referred to by experts as the “shadow pandemic” running alongside Covid-19.


Welsh Women’s Aid developed the Covid-19 Bystander toolkit as part of our #StandWithSurvivors campaign. Following its’ publication , there was a big increase in the amount of people reaching out for support, and the tireless effort of specialist services meant that support has remained available. 


However, the pandemic has shown however that the current funding situation is not suitable for specialist services to be able to respond and adapt to a sudden change in need, and has held a magnifying glass to existing gaps in policy and provision. Without an injection of emergency funding, the specialist sector would not have been able to continue its vital support to survivors, and the methods developed to make it this far are in no way sustainable.


The key to developing a sustainable funding model which works for every survivor, will be equal recognition of all forms of violence against women (including sexual violence, exploitation, honour based abuse and FGM) and a fully intersectional approach. This includes by and for service provision, LGBTQ+ support, disability, accommodation for women exploited by the sex industry and routes to support for survivors with no recourse to public funds. A model for sustainable funding is unworkable unless it reflects the reality of every survivor, and there are multiple ways that people can access and receive support.  


Our key ask is that Welsh Governments fulfils its commitment to deliver a sustainable funding model, and that this model is reflective of all forms of VAWDASV and fully intersectional in its approach. 


The commitment to a sustainable funding model was made as part of the National Strategy on Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence, in 2016. Since this time Welsh Women’s Aid has been campaigning to make this commitment a reality. Now more than ever, it’s Time to Act on Sustainability.

You can read our State of the Sector here: