UPDATE on 27th April: We have now received a response from City Hall to our letter regarding tech support. The letter is available here:
The End Violence Against Women Coalition today (16 April) sent a letter to Sadiq Khan setting out the challenges faced by frontline organisations tackling domestic and sexual violence as result of COVID-19, and how this could be improved with support from the tech world.
Many organisations, particularly smaller specialist organisations led ‘by and for’ BME women are facing difficulties in the move to home working, due to historic underfunding. Their financial situation is already precarious and yet are having to make significant investments in phones, laptops and software in order to continue their life saving and life changing support to women and girls.
The letter asks the Mayor to put pressure on tech companies to donate equipment and expertise, in a move that could significantly ease the burden of COVID-19 on vital services. The letter references the previous support City Hall has given in speaking out about domestic abuse from Deputy Mayor Sophie Linden, as well as other initiatives that have engaged the private sector such as rooms for homeless people, and football clubs to support NHS workers.
The letter comes a week after the End Violence Against Women published a comprehensive briefing on COVID-19 and the duty to protect women and girls where the issue of organisations in desperate need of phones and laptops was raised.
End Violence Against Women Coalition Director Sarah Green said:
“While we know funding has made available for food and other essentials, vital services for survivors such as therapeutic support, casework, as well as advice specialisms and language support that BME organisations provide are more important than ever.
“This type of support would make the greatest difference to smaller, grassroots organisations who are least equipped to adapt to this change in provision at speed and, with lower reserves, may not survive the crisis without additional funds and support.”
The letter is available in full here: EVAW Tech Appeal Letter to Mayor of London