Up to three million women and girls across the UK experience rape, domestic violence, stalking and other violence each year, while two women are killed by a partner or ex-partner every week. Although more survivors are finding the courage to speak out and ask for support, some groups find it harder than others to access the help that they need, or are more likely to be trapped in risky situations. Research has shown, for example, that disabled women in the UK are more than twice as likely to be assaulted or raped, while older victims are much more likely to still be living with their abuser after getting support.1
Comic Relief knows that there are many organisations across the UK doing incredible work to support such women and girls, raise awareness of the issues, champion change and equality, and tackle harmful behaviour. That’s why today Comic Relief is launching a new £4 million initiative to support them, co-funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the UK’s Devolved Administrations. 2
The ‘Tackling Violence against Women and Girls’ initiative will aim to support and empower women and girls so that they can create the change needed for them to live safe and fulfilling lives.
Funding will focus on helping the women and girls who have multiple and complex needs, and are therefore more at risk of violence. These include those with poor mental health, substance misuse problems, those who are homeless and those who are often overlooked, and/or experience more acute kinds of discrimination. Grants will run for between one and three years.
Sue Wicks, Head of Investment at Comic Relief, said: “We know that women’s organisations provide vital and specialist support to the many women harmed by violence, and are on the frontlines of efforts to reduce this violence in our communities, through work with schools, families, courts and the media.”
“This new initiative will fund work to support women and girls who usually slip through the net, while also improving long-term awareness and support.”
Comic Relief and its partners understand that change happens at many different levels and is therefore interested in supporting organisations that work with individuals, other organisations, communities and society at large.
The grants made through this initiative will be jointly funded by Comic Relief, DCMS, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and Northern Ireland. Government funds totalling £2,420,000 have been raised through the ‘Tampon Tax’ – the VAT charged on sanitary products – while Comic Relief will contribute £1,580,000. This follows a similar partnership between Comic Relief and the Treasury in 2016.
For more information on available funding please visit the initiative application page.
1 Women’s Aid (2007) Making the links: Disabled women and domestic violence; SafeLives (2016) Safe Later Lives: Older people and domestic abuse
2 The devolved administration departments include the Department for Communities, Northern Ireland; the Local Government and Communities Directorate, Scottish Government; Equality and Prosperity Division, the Welsh Government.