Islington Council pledges extra £2million to tackle violence against women and girls

Cllr Andy Hull. Picture: Islington Council

Cllr Andy Hull. Picture: Islington Council - Credit: Archant

Islington Council will invest more than £2million extra funding to tackle violence against women and girls (VAWG) over the next three years.

Town hall chiefs announced their proposed budget for 2020-2021 on Wednesday (January 8). It includes the first major funding injection since 2009, using cash saved from previous budgets. And £600,000 will be used to address VAWG this year.

There were 4,000 reported cases of domestic violence and abuse (DVA) in Islington last year - with 29 killings London-wide - and it's one of the biggest causes of homelessness and mental health issues in the borough.

DVA is a factor in 8 out of 10 social care cases and children exposed to it are more likely to be excluded and grow up to be abusive partners themselves.

In 2017/18, Islington Council research showed the 25 most serious young offenders assigned to its youth offending service all had experiences of DVA.

Co-chair of the Islington VAWG Board, Tanya Pinnock, a domestic violence survivor, said: "VAWG is a devastating violation of human rights.

"This additional investment highlights the council's commitment to tackling DVA as a key priority. This is extremely important and will make a big difference to victims, ensuring they have access to specialist support and services.

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"This, in turn, will mean victims and their families get holistic support, so they can start to rebuild their lives safely and securely, free from abuse".

The cash will pay for four new independent advocates and daily safeguarding meetings, where overnight VAWG incident reports will be analysed.

The cash will help police provide replacement smart phones for survivors of domestic and or sexual abuse, making it easy for the women to hand over mobiles for evidence to increase the likelihood of convictions.

The council also wants to recruit a specialist to work with survivors in temporary accommodation, and hire a dedicated housing needs coordinator.

The council will also hire specialists to work with perpetrators to try and change their abusive behaviour.

Finance and crime chief Cllr Andy Hull, who also co-chairs the VAWG board, added: "This major new investment will enable us to intervene earlier to break cycles of violence, support survivors to stay safe, and hold perpetrators to account.

"We also know exposure to violence early in life does long-term damage, so this new package of measures will prioritise helping children and young people with experience of the trauma of domestic abuse to recover and build healthy relationships themselves."