Measuring the impact of cuts in public expenditure on the provision of services to prevent violence against women and girls
By Jude Towers and Sylvia Walby
UNESCO Chair in Gender Research Group
• Substantial reductions in national budgets are leading to cuts in local services to prevent and protect against gender-based violence against women and girls. These cuts in service provision are expected to lead to increases in this violence.
• The effect on local services is both dramatic and uneven across localities.
• Thirty-one percent of the funding to the domestic violence and sexual abuse sector from local authorities was cut between 2010/11 to 2011/12, a reduction from £7.8 million to £5.4 million. (Data obtained using Freedom
of Information Act requests by the False Economy project, and analysed by the research team).
• The organisations with smaller budgets from the local authorities had more substantial budget cuts than larger ones: among those with local authority funding of less than £20,000 the average cut was 70% as compared
with 29% for those receiving over £100,000, between 2010/11 and 2011/12. (Data obtained using Freedom of Information Act requests by the False Economy project, and analysed by the research team).
• 320 women, just under 9% of those seeking refuge, were turned away by Women’s Aid on a typical day in 2011 due to lack of space. (Data from surveys conducted annually by Women’s Aid of their affiliated organisations, analysed by the research team).
• The number of Independent Domestic Violence Advisers (IDVA) has been reduced: in 2011 among 8 major IDVA service providers supporting 13,180 clients, 2 faced funding cuts of 100%, 3 cuts of 50%, 3 of 40% and 2 of 25%. (Data from a poll carried out by Coordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse – CAADA).
• IMKAAN, who run services for women from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups, report the closing of two of their six specialist refuges and cuts to local authority funding for two more. (Data from IMKAAN).
• RESPECT services working to reform male perpetrators of domestic violence suffered budget cuts so that between 2010 and 2011 78% of services reduced the number of clients they were able to assist. (Data from RESPECT London).
• Statutory provision, including those police and court services that involve specialised expertise, has also been reduced following funding cuts. This includes cuts in the operating levels of Domestic Abuse Officers, a unit on female genital mutilation and domestic violence courts. (Data from Home Office and Ministry for Justice).