The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is investing £3.7m as part of a package of measures to support victims of domestic abuse and tackle violence against women and girls.
The package will be made up of new funding from both city hall and the government and will see investment targeted at providing safe spaces for domestic abuse victims during lockdown.
As well as funding for new training for police officers to improve the response given to survivors of domestic abuse, and cash for schemes focused on addressing the behaviour of perpetrators of domestic abuse.
Sadiq’s intervention comes as figures show a large increase in abusive behaviour and violence this year, with calls to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline increasing by 49% in the three weeks after the first lockdown.
While the Metropolitan Police recorded a 37% increase in domestic abuse cases between March and July 2020, compared to the same period last year.
Sadiq Khan said: ‘I want to be clear that I’m committed to tackling violence against women and girls.
‘I want London to be a city where every woman and girl feels safe and valued.
‘Sadly, we already know that during lockdown home is not always a safe place for everyone, and I am deeply worried about those who feel threatened or unsafe in their own homes, particularly during the pandemic.
‘That is why city hall has been funding safe spaces and specialist support for victims and survivors of domestic abuse and their children since the first lockdown.
‘The additional funding today means that safe and secure beds can continue to be available for victims and their children to access the support and care they need.
‘From prevention to bringing perpetrators to justice, I am determined to do everything in my power to ensure dangerous offenders are dealt with, and that victims and survivors get access to the support they need quickly to help turn their lives around.
‘That is why I am investing in police training to improve awareness of the early signs of domestic abuse and to ensure survivors of domestic abuse get the very best response.
‘We also have to tackle the behaviour of those who are being abusive and violent, sending a clear message that it ends now.’
Fiona Dwyer, CEO, Solace Women’s Aid, said investment in safe accommodation for women fleeing violence and abuse is life-saving.
‘We continue to see the devastating impacts of the pandemic, and lockdowns in particular, on the women and children we support here at Solace.
‘We know that women are far too often forced to stay in abusive households for fear of becoming homeless and that’s why the Mayor’s continued investment in safe accommodation for women fleeing violence and abuse is absolutely life-saving.
‘We are relieved that will we be able to continue to provide emergency accommodation through our Crisis Project to some of the most vulnerable in society, including women with no recourse to public funds, and help them start their journey to live free from abuse.’
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