The Mayor of London is pleased to support the VAWG Grassroots sector in delivering much needed services. In particular, the Mayor is delighted to support BME-led groups and their communities who are in much need of support at such a crucial time. Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, writes below about the importance of tackling VAWG and the Mayor’s approach to working in partnership with grassroots groups the sector.
Tackling violence against women and girls (VAWG) is one of the Mayor’s key priorities for policing and safety in London, set out in his Police and Crime Plan and in his VAWG Strategy. MOPAC and the wider GLA are delivering those strategies, working to prevent VAWG, to tackle perpetrators and to support victims of these crimes.
However, this work has beenhampered by the pressures arising from years of deep Government funding cuts, increasing demand, and increasing operating costs. VAWG organisations – which need stability to continue their vital work of supporting victims and survivors – have been driven to breaking point, with smaller specialist grassroots organisations bearing the brunt.
Recognising and responding to this urgent need, the Mayor announced the creation of a new VAWG Fund, providing £15m in additional funding for services for victims and survivors of VAWG. Over £10m of this has already been deployed to organisations who are achieving great outcomes for women and girls across London.
The Covid-19 outbreak and the lockdown measures needed to tackle it have heightened vulnerabilities and added further pressure onto the sector. The Mayor has invested a further £1.5m in emergency funding to provide more refuge places for victims and survivors fleeing domestic abuse during lockdown.
£3m has been set aside from the Mayor’s VAWG Fund to focus on supporting existing specialist grassroots organisations operating across London’s diverse communities to end VAWG. Grassroots organisations are often the first and sometimes the only support contact for many survivors of VAWG, in particular women and girls and from marginalised groups.
Grassroots organisations often face considerable challenges in accessing funding with many BME organisations disproportionately affected by this.
From sources including the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) we know that domestic abuse and sexual offences are disproportionately experienced by women; 76% and 87% respectively. As a reflection of the disproportionate impact of these crimes on this group, our primary focus for this fund is on services that support to women and girls.
This does not mean that we diminish or ignore the suffering experienced by men and boys and many of existing MOPAC funded services support them.
Grassroots VAWG organisations play such an important role in London, and will continue to do so as we begin the process of recovery from the Covid-19 outbreak. I warmly welcome your engagement with this new fund, and I look forward to seeing the difference we can make together for vulnerable women and girls in our city.
Thank you for the work you continue to do for victims and survivors of VAWG in London.
The VAWG Grassroots Fund is open for applications from 16 November 2020 to 11 January 2021. Click here to learn more and apply.