Labour MP Nick Thomas-Symonds says emergency funds are needed for 'frontline' organisations
It’s no secret domestic abuse victims are particularly vulnerable during the Covid-19 lockdown, as they are spending an increased amount of time in their homes and with their partners.
Earlier this week, the Chief Executive of national domestic abuse charity Refuge, Sandra Horley CBE, told Marie Claire that since the UK lockdown measures were announced, the organisation has worked round the clock to ensure its life-saving services remain open and accessible to any woman who needs them, and they have reported a 25 per cent increase in calls to the national domestic abuse helpline since the lockdown began.
Recognising that the domestic abuse charities need help, Labour MP and recently appointed shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds has written to Priti Patel, saying the organisations providing domestic abuse support services during the pandemic must get an emergency financial package from the government.
Nick, who was appointed to the shadow cabinet by the new Labour leader Keir Starmer on Sunday, has requested funds for organisations that run ‘frontline’ domestic abuse services, as well as to turn underused hotel chains and university halls into emergency accommodation.
In his letter to Priti, Nick wrote, ‘I am writing to ask you to work with colleagues across government to urgently bring forward a package of emergency bespoke financial support for the organisations who are doing vital frontline work to ensure that they can provide a crucial safety net to some of the most at risk women, children and communities throughout this crisis.
He went on to say, ‘I would also be happy to discuss how your department, and those across government, can ensure that this additional investment is made available as soon as possible and also in ensuring that organisations operating on the frontline are given the necessary financial flexibility.’
While Refuge, which provides support to abuse survivors as well as facilitating referrals to refuge accommodation, logged on average a shocking number of 270 calls per day to its national domestic helpline, Women’s Aid reported a 41 per cent increase in use of the charity’s live chat service between 26 March and 1 April, compared to the previous week.
More simply must be done to help these vulnerable women.