How can I help domestic abuse victims?
According to studies by the charity Women’s Aid, women escaping domestic abuse are more likely to face homelessness. Often, victims of domestic abuse are forced to make an impossible choice of remaining with their abuser and having nowhere safe to stay.
In its 2021 Domestic Abuse Report, Women’s Aid found there was a shortfall of 1,694 refuge beds, with a fifth of all referrals declined due to lack of space or capacity. Its 2020 report, The Hidden Housing Crisis, found that the fear of homelessness often prevents victims leaving their abuser, and those who do are forced to stay in unsafe or overcrowded accommodation. Turned away from refuge space, 40% sofa-surf and 7% sleep rough.
The UK Government Domestic Abuse Bill will aim to deliver funding to provide more refuge spaces, but according to Refuge this still falls short of the funding needed to ensure spaces meet demand.
Domestic abuse victims require both secure housing and professional support. A number of charities can provide this through helplines, shelters and training, but they are often reliant on donations from members of the public to run their service.
So how can you help those in need?
You could organise a fundraiser to collect money for your local women’s refuge or helpline. From cake sales to discos, rally your community together to raise some much needed funds.
If you would like to donate some unwanted items, it is a good idea to contact your local women’s refuge to understand what they can or can’t accept. Clothes and toys are a good place to start, but check what the current need is at your local shelter.
Women’s Aid advertise national jobs on its website, but also recommends approaching your local service to offer your time and expertise. Refuge has an alert service for volunteer roles within its Live Chat and call handling services for its National Abuse Helpline. Rise also calls for campaigners, professionals, survivors, as well as volunteers at its events, to help support domestic abuse victims.
From jumpers to tote bags, Refuge’s official clothing shop features a range of inspiring items on zero waste cotton fabric that will make you look and feel good while doing good. The sustainable range is designed to be made into new products once an item has worn out, so it is an environmentally friendly choice too!
Whether you want to support a national or local service, give a one-off contribution or donate long-term, with the Toucan app you can give to a number of causes close to your heart. Create a portfolio of up to three charities from 20,000, and receive an impact report to see how your money has made a difference.
Domestic abuse cases rise around Christmas time and often more support is needed.