Small and medium-sized charities across England and Wales are set to stimulate innovation and improvements in the domestic and sexual abuse sector, thanks to an investment of over £1.6 million by Lloyds Bank Foundation for England & Wales.

Specialist charities are at the heart of delivering domestic and sexual abuse services in local communities. As experts in their field, with established relationships and trust with the people they support, they are often better placed than larger service providers to respond to people’s specific needs.

Yet growing funding pressures have hit smaller charities hard, limiting their scope and opportunity to innovate, conduct research, inform policy or develop new models of care for people experiencing abuse. In response, the Foundation developed a new one-off grants programme Transform, aimed at investing in those charities that have the potential to shape and influence the domestic and sexual abuse sector and lead to greater long-term impact.

 17 grants totalling £1.6million have now been awarded to charities including:

  • A £96,320 grant for AVA (Against Violence and Abuse) who together with AGENDA (Alliance for Women and Girls at Risk) will launch a national commission to strengthen the sector's response to domestic abuse for people who have complex needs such as substance dependencies and/or mental health issues.
  • A £98,412 grant for Rape Crisis England and Wales (RCEW) will enable the charity to employ a policy officer to influence government and commissioners to improve policy and practice on rape and sexual violence against women and girls across the UK.

Paul Streets, Chief Executive of Lloyds Bank Foundation for England & Wales says: “We have a long and successful history of funding local and specialist charities who offer critical support to people experiencing domestic and sexual abuse in communities across England and Wales. But this sector is under huge pressure. Funding cuts mean these charities are struggling to stay afloat, let alone have time and space to innovate and develop new models of care. We’re pleased to invest £1.6m into those charities on the frontline and to provide a unique opportunity for them to use their knowledge and expertise to transform the way we provide support for people experiencing abuse.” 

Donna Covey, Director of AVA says: ”Many survivors of domestic abuse experience mental ill health and problematic substance use, but services are poorly equipped to provide them with the holistic support they deserve. There is also limited capacity and funding for refuges to support women with complex needs. This means women don't get the support they need to rebuild their lives after abuse. Through our grant from Lloyds Bank Foundation we will establish a national commission that will draw much needed attention onto these issues and mean future national policy and practice on domestic abuse reflects the reality and complex nature of people’s lives.” 

Dianne Whitfield, Co-Chair of Rape Crisis England and Wales says: “This funding from Lloyds Bank Foundation comes at just the right time. It will enable RCEW to have a dedicated voice for policy to amplify the challenges and concerns member centres face daily on the frontline. Demand for Rape Crisis services are at an all-time high along with the tension of delivering existing services, managing waiting lists, securing sustainable funding and ensuring the impacts of sexual violence are recognised at a local or national level is a constant challenge.”

For more information about Transform and a full list of grants made click here