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The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today announced he is investing £3.7 million as part of a major package of measures to support victims of domestic abuse and tackle violence against

women and girls.  

The Mayor’s announcement today, which coincides with White Ribbon Day, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, uses new funding from both City Hall and the Government.

It will see investment targeted at providing safe spaces for domestic abuse victims during lockdown, 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 per cent in the three weeks after the first lockdown on 23 March, and the Metropolitan Police recording a 37 per cent increase in domestic abuse cases between March 2020 to July 2020 – compared to the same period last year. 

 Accommodation for victims of domestic abuse during the pandemic:

The Mayor launched a £1.5m emergency response fund in May this year, stepping in following the delay from Government, to provide victims of domestic abuse with safe accommodation and support if they need to flee their homes during lockdown.

This funded a temporary 86 bed spaces in the first lockdown, supporting more than 190 victims fleeing domestic abuse, providing them with access to safe accommodation where they could self-isolate and get support, including mental health, legal and social care help, as well as food and medical supplies.

Following the allocation of new Government funds, ring-fenced to be spent only on support services for victims of domestic abuse and not accommodation, City Hall has once again stepped in to provide temporary accommodation provision. In order to meet the current demand, City Hall has changed its provision of temporary accommodation to 51 beds and specialist support services for survivors of domestic abuse until June 2021. This shelter accommodation includes spaces and support for male and LGBTQ+ victims, as well as specialist support for victims with no recourse to public funds.


Improving police response to domestic abuse:


A report in 2019  by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) found that some police forces found it hard to establish quickly how long someone had been experiencing abuse, and what the nature of that abuse is and has been, and said that forces needed to improve the provision of training around coercive and controlling behaviour.[2]

To improve the response given to survivors of domestic abuse, the Mayor will invest £700,000 in training for Metropolitan Police officers. Domestic Abuse Matters training will be provided to frontline police officers to help them spot the early signs of domestic abuse and understand better the tactics used by perpetrators. This training aims to change the attitudes, culture and behaviour of the police response to domestic abuse. It will increase officers’ knowledge of coercive control, and knowledge of male and LGBTQ+ victims, and challenge victim-blaming and stereotypes, as well as helping officers to recognise the high levels of manipulation used by those perpetrating abuse.

Changing the behaviour of perpetrators of domestic abuse:

In order to prevent abuse and protect victims, City Hall has been awarded funding from the Home Office to invest £844,000 in programmes that work to address the behaviour of perpetrators of domestic abuse. This funding will go towards programmes across London that help social services and police to challenge and support perpetrators to change their behaviour, making clear that they cannot get away with abuse and can access the help they need to stop.


The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, 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, and 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.”

Photo by Ben Pollard, Wikimedia commons.