Support for the most vulnerable victims of domestic abuse across Richmond, Wandsworth, Kingston and Merton has been given a boost this White Ribbon Day, thanks to a £483,000 government grant.
White Ribbon Day is the 25 November, a day designated by the United Nations as International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
Richmond and Wandsworth councils supported by Kingston and Merton have successfully bid for funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to continue the provision of an outreach service to support victims of domestic abuse who have multiple, complex needs that was due to close this December. The service, run by Refuge which currently supports victims in both Wandsworth and Richmond will now be extended until 2020 and expanded to cover Kingston and Merton.
SPEAR is a charity working with homeless people in South West London. They offer services to street homeless and vulnerable people, to enable them to find secure accommodation. The funding will allow the reinstatement of SPEAR’s successful specialist service supporting homeless women experiencing domestic abuse that ceased in April 2018.
REFUGE have worked in Richmond since 2011 providing high quality free, confidential, and independent support to people experiencing domestic abuse.
This funding will help Refuge further develop the outreach service working closely with a variety of current service providers including SPEAR, to support victims of domestic abuse across four boroughs.
The service will provide flexible, individually tailored outreach support for victims living in their own home and will work with SPEAR and other housing providers to support women with complex needs who are unable to access mainstream accommodation services because of their high support needs.
Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Engagement and Equalities Councillor Edith Macauley said: “Joining up with Richmond, Kingston and Wandsworth has allowed us to secure funding and continue the provision of a much needed service. Far too many people suffer in silence because of domestic abuse and we are determined to put the needs of our residents first by committing ourselves to protecting the most vulnerable members of our society.”
Cllr Liz Jaeger, Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “Domestic abuse shatters lives and we are determined to ensure that victims always have the support they need to ensure their safety and the safety of any children. This new funding will help Richmond, Wandsworth, Kingston and Merton councils, provide the specialist support required to keep victims and their children safe and free from further fear and violence.”
Cllr Guy Senior, Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Resources, at Wandsworth Council, said: “This funding will enhance the support and protection we offer to domestic abuse victims and is another good example of effective joined up working between councils in this part of south west London and our voluntary and charity sector partners. These services will support some of the most vulnerable members of our communities and help ensure that victims of violence and abuse can be given added protection from harm.”
Cllr Liz Green, Leader of Kingston Council and portfolio holder for Community Safety, added: “We are really pleased to be working with our neighbouring boroughs to provide additional services for victims of domestic abuse with complex needs. The partnership will allow us to build on the success of the projects in Richmond and Wandsworth and to help support the most vulnerable victims of violence to be free from fear.”
Sandra Horley CBE, Chief Executive of Refuge, said: “This funding from MHCLG is hugely welcome news for Refuge and particularly for survivors of domestic abuse living in the Richmond-Wandsworth area. This critical service will now not only remain open until 2020, but will also expand to cover survivors living in Kingston and Merton as well, opening up life-saving and life-transforming specialist support to even more of those who desperately need it.”
Lesleigh Bounds, Director of Strategic Operations for Spear, said: “This grant enables us to extend our women’s services and so deliver more benefit to women affected by homelessness, their families and the wider communities.”