Nottingham’s services for domestic abuse and sexual violence victims are struggling financially, says a sector professional, despite a six-figure funding boost this year.
More survivors are accessing support and the city is now home to up to 48,525 victims, according to Nottingham Crime and Drugs Partnership.
This year Nottingham City Council spent £357,904 more than in 2016/17, with a total of £1,997,699 used to help victims.
But “demand always outstrips supply,” says Jane Lewis, a trustee for Nottingham Central Women’s Aid and community safety strategy manager at Nottingham Crime and Drugs Partnership.
She believes domestic abuse and sexual violence services are still pressured to fundraise constantly to protect their work.
“Our services are always stretched, but we work closely in partnership and do a good job,” says Jane.
“We all want to have a positive outcome for survivors and children and to hold perpetrators to account.”
Nottingham Central Women’s Aid refuge closed in March 2011 due to government cuts, but re-opened in January 2012 with former employees initially working on a voluntary basis.
Jane celebrated Nottingham’s triumph winning extra funding from the national Violence Against Women and Girls Transformation fund though.
Nottingham and Nottinghamshire were jointly awarded just under £446,000 last year, as part of a countrywide scheme to help the most vulnerable victims, such as survivors of female genital mutilation (FGM) and child sex exploitation.
Groups receiving council funding include Women’s Aid Integrated Services, Nottingham Sexual Violence Support Services and Equation, who particularly help male survivors.
Four refuges for victims are also financially assisted by the council and were used by 103 households escaping domestic violence in 2016/17.
Kristina Daoud, project officer for sexual violence at Nottingham Trent University, agreed that council funding was crucial to her work like hers.
“A lot of partners who do this kind of work in Nottingham, they wouldn’t really be possible without the commitment of local government,” she says.