Women’s Aid and SafeLives launch major initiative to transform domestic abuse system, supported by Big Lottery Fund

19th May 2016

The leading national domestic abuse charities Women’s Aid and SafeLives have joined forces to deliver and recommend radical system change to respond to and prevent domestic abuse.  

The Big Lottery Fund has awarded the partnership a £5.75 million grant over a five-year period. The Women’s Aid and SafeLives joint initiative will allow deeper insight and understanding into what works best when supporting survivors of domestic abuse. This will in turn inform policy and practice to ensure that all survivors of domestic abuse receive the most effective response. 

Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said:

“We are delighted and grateful to have been awarded this grant by the Big Lottery Fund. The funding will be used to deliver our joint initiative, working with a range of other organisations - and through this, we will be able to transform the range, quality and scale of the current response to women and girls suffering from domestic abuse.  This will ultimately help to save the lives of abused women and children. The Big Lottery Fund has recognised that there is need for system-wide change, and we will now be able to test approaches to system change to improve multi-agency response.

Diana Barran, Chief Executive of SafeLives, said:

“It is brilliant news that the Big Lottery Fund is supporting domestic abuse provision for women and girls. We know that provision continues to be piecemeal and often some of the most vulnerable families are not supported. The Big Lottery Fund has recognised we need to test innovative ways of working to move towards long-term change.  We are delighted to have formed this unique partnership with Women’s Aid and will be sharing our joint insight throughout the sector and beyond”. 

 Women’s Aid Survivor Ambassador and Britain’s Got Talent star, Becky O’Brien, said:

“As a survivor of domestic abuse, I know how vital it is that you feel properly supported and believed when leaving an abusive partner. At the moment, it’s a postcode lottery for the support available, and that is not good enough. The Big Lottery Fund grant will help give survivors a voice, and make sure that all women can be confident that they will be listened to, believed and helped. “

Geeta Gopalan, Big Lottery Fund England Committee Vice Chair and Chair of the Funding Panel for women and girls said: 

“Strong evidence from women and girls’ organisations told us of the increased demand for support. So, we’ve been working closely with them over the past year to identify ways that women of all ages can get the right help, information and a listening ear to take control of their lives. We will be working closely with all the projects funded today to share the most successful aspect, so that other women and girls can continue to benefit in the future. I am delighted that we can use money raised through National Lottery players to go back into the community and help young girls and women most in need.”

Notes to Editors

SafeLives is a national charity dedicated to ending domestic abuse, for good. We combine data, research, and insight from services and survivors to find out what really works to make people safe. SafeLives wants support for people to be early, effective and consistent – wherever you live, whoever you are. The Big Lottery Fund grant will contribute to a major initiative, funded in partnership with local commissioners, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the Peter Cundill Foundation.

For media enquiries about SafeLives or the project, please talk to Head of Communications Penny East, 07818 593 562 or penny.east@safelives.org.uk

Women’s Aid is the national charity working to end domestic abuse against women and children.  Over the past 40 years, Women’s Aid has been at the forefront of shaping and coordinating responses to domestic violence and abuse through practice. We empower survivors by keeping their voices at the heart of our work, working with and for women and children by listening to them and responding to their needs. We are a federation of over 220 organisations who provide more than 300 local lifesaving services to women and children across the country. We provide expert training, qualifications and consultancy to a range of agencies and professionals working with survivors or commissioning domestic abuse services, and award a National Quality Mark for services which meet our quality standards. Our campaigns achieve change in policy, practice and awareness, encouraging healthy relationships and helping to build a future where domestic abuse is no longer tolerated. The 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 (run in partnership with Refuge) and our range of online services, which include the Survivors’ Forum, help hundreds of thousands of women and children every year.

For more information about Women’s Aid and its work, please contact Alice Stride in the Women’s Aid Press Office on 0207 566 2511 or email a.stride@womensaid.org.uk.

About Big Lottery Fund

  • The Big Lottery Fund is the largest funder of community activity in the UK. It puts people in the lead to improve their lives and communities, often through small, local projects.
  • It is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. Every year it invests over £650 million and award around 12,000 grants across the UK for health, education, environment and charitable purposes.
  • Since June 2004 it has awarded over £8 billion to projects that change the lives of millions of people. Since the National Lottery began in 1994, £34 billion has been raised and more than 450,000 grants awarded.