PRESS RELEASE: The Budget is leaving women without the stability they desperately need
WIP responds to Budget 2021
This Budget is leaving women at the sharpest end of society without the stability they desperately need. The new £19m domestic abuse funding would barely touch the sides of the £393m needed to ensure a network of services to support survivors and the sector needs a multi-year ringfenced funding.
Measures to support women facing multiple disadvantage are insufficient, without investment in Women’s Centres, which face a funding cliff edge at the end of the month.
This coupled with a previously announced investment in 500 prison places is at odds with trying to support survivors. Almost two thirds of women in prison are reported to be survivors of domestic abuse and are not the right places to provide specialist support for recovery.
This funding could be put towards specialist women's services, with just £70.7m per year investment safeguarding the future of a network of Women’s Centres in local communities. These would not only provide holistic services to all women experiencing the criminal justice system but also save £2.84 for every £1 spent. If we are to ensure that women at the sharpest end of our society receive the support they need, we must see investment in local, community-based expert help to address the root causes which brings them into contact with the criminal justice system.
CEO of Women in Prison, Dr Kate Paradine, says: “This Budget could make a Women’s Centre in each local community a reality to ensure that those of us who are struggling to keep our heads above water aren’t left to sink.
"Women who are swept up into crime are often overlooked, but Women's Centres are vital community resources working with women at the sharpest end of society who might otherwise end up in prison. Prisons are a dead end that won’t solve the poverty, domestic abuse or mental ill health in our communities which underlies offending – only investment in community solutions will.
“A fully funded network of Women's Centres is within our reach and the Government can choose to invest in safeguarding the future of these community services that provide stability when it’s needed most.”