Manchester Women’s Aid works with the public and voluntary sector and funders like the Big Lottery and Comic Relief to keep victims of controlling, coercive and threatening behaviour, violence and abuse safe and well.
The majority of services are accessed by women because they are more likely to experience domestic violence and abuse (DVA) and when they do it is more likely to be more severe and repeated.
On an average day there will be 30 women in refuge, having escaped life-threatening abuse from an intimate partner or family member. There will also be many children coming to terms, through play sessions, with the DVA they have witnessed. Our skilled staff will be providing practical and emotional support to over 150 victims of DVA in the community, running groups and drop-in advice sessions each week and training professionals such as GPs and the police in how to identify abuse and respond appropriately.
And yet we struggle to fund even this level of service, even in places like Manchester where DVA crimes are reported every 8 minutes. And we spend precious time completing endless short-term funding applications and having to explain, over and over again, why closing refuges and forcing victims to stay in a violent relationship is wrong, why families will often have to move across the country to a place of safety, far away from the abuser and why it’s so important to invest in the healing of child and adult victims of this awful crime. Time that should be spent ending the fear.
Gail Heath is CEO of the Pankhurst Trust