Wales Victims Of Abuse Lack Funding
Lack of funding is hampering the tackling of domestic abuse in Wales, says a new report today.
Men, women, children, people from black and ethnic minority communities, older people, disabled people and carers do not get the support they need, said Janice Gregory AM, Chair of the National Assembly for Wales’ Communities and Culture Committee.
The report highlights the shortage of suitable accommodation for families fleeing domestic abuse.
Ms Gregory was launching the committee report, Domestic Abuse in Wales, which follows a comprehensive review of the support that is available for victims of domestic abuse and resources available from government bodies, health and social services and criminal justice agencies.
The Committee also examined initiatives aimed at preventing domestic abuse and how the Welsh Assembly Government’s Strategy for tackling domestic abuse is working in practice.
The clearest theme to emerge was the lack of sustainable funding. Current funding arrangements were described by agencies as hampering the strategy to tackle domestic abuse.
The committee is calling for an overhaul of current funding mechanisms, and for the Welsh Assembly Government to work with the UK Government to ensure sustainable core funding in specific areas, e.g. children’s workers in refuges, Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs), Specialist Domestic Violence Courts and Independent Domestic Violence Advisers.
The Report’s recommendations also include:
That the Welsh Assembly Government meets the needs of children and young people, including core for funding children’s workers in refuges, more preventative work to be done in schools and more support services in place for children who disclose abuse;
Provide a more cohesive and resourced response to the needs of black and ethnic minority women with no recourse to public funds (NRPF) under Home Office Immigration rules;
More account to be taken of older people who are victims of domestic abuse and closer working with the UK Government to secure funding for an ‘Access to Justice’ pilot project focusing on vulnerable older witnesses;
Consideration to be given to the needs of men from different backgrounds and circumstances affected by domestic abuse. The needs of disabled people, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual people also need to be met more effectively.
The report also highlights the shortage of suitable accommodation for families fleeing domestic abuse and suggests that the Welsh Assembly Government should work with local authorities to evaluate the extent to which available and appropriate accommodation for women and families leaving refuges meets the need.
Janice Gregory AM, and the Chair of the Committee said:
“The wide scope of the Committee’s inquiry has allowed us to explore the strengths and weaknesses of how domestic abuse is managed in Wales and the report makes some robust recommendations about what more needs to be done.
“We have covered many aspects of domestic abuse, including the impact of isolation exacerbated by geographical, cultural and individual factors. We have also discovered gaps in the availability and accessibility of support for different group. ; Men, women, children, people from black and ethnic minority communities, older people, disabled people and carers do not get the support they need.
“The Committee has seen some excellent examples of joint working to tackle domestic abuse in Wales. But it is vital that all multi-agency arrangements work efficiently and that important information is shared to ensure the best response in every case.
“We all need to play our part in ‘breaking the secret’ of domestic abuse and changing attitudes. Crisis intervention and awareness raising must always be swift, responsive and appropriate to the needs of victims, and we must do all we can to prevent today’s children from becoming tomorrow’s adult victims, and to break any cycle of abuse.”
Since April the Committee has received evidence from a cross-section of people and organisations and from the Welsh Assembly Government. Members of the Committee were given unprecedented access to refuges to seek the views of survivors of domestic abuse.