Today (20th March) more than 10 key Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) organisations have come together to issue a joint statement on COVID 19. The statement is available here and has signatories included EVAW, Women’s Aid, Imkaan, Refuge and Rape Crisis, among others.
It recognises that the impacts of COVID 19 will have serious impacts on the lives of women and children, and that for many home is not a place of safety. It is likely that these specialist VAWG services will become even more in demand.
The statement prioritises 6 particular areas of action needed:
Ensuring all funders do not impose unnecessary burdens on VAWG organisations across this time, and do all they can to ensure services can meet demand. This requires an immediate cash injection from government to cope with additional pressure and allow services to continue their vital work.
The government must end the hostile environment, the No Recourse to Public Funds conditions and immigration detention to prevent the spread of the virus and ensure migrant women can access free healthcare. Local authorities must work to identify all women and children made homelessness and destitute due to VAWG, who are often the ‘hidden homeless’, and support them to self-isolate as required.
The statement also identifies crucial areas of action relating to:
- Contingency Planning
- Equal Representation, Monitoring & Action
The end of the statement states: “This is a rapidly developing situation and the impacts on survivors and services are changing day by day. We stand together to support our life-saving VAWG sector, who are on the frontline in supporting women and children impacted by the pandemic. We will work to ensure the challenges they face are understood within government, public sector agencies and all relevant partners, and necessary steps are taken to ensure every survivor gets the support they need during this time of national challenge.”
The statement is available in full below, together with the full list of signatories: