Supporting People Saves Lives

Date: 
9 December, 2014

 Supporting People Saves Lives

On a single day in November 2014, Women’s Aid provided emergency accommodation and support to 1881 women and 2063 children suffering domestic violence in Northern Ireland. This was only possible thanks to the Supporting People fund, which covers much of the cost of our life-saving services.
That’s why Women’s Aid is backing calls to strengthen funding to the Supporting People programme, to ensure that we can continue to protect victims of domestic abuse.
 
Every year, thousands of women and children turn to Women’s Aid services throughout Northern Ireland – they are among the 26,000 vulnerable people supported annually by Supporting People.
Sharon Burnett, Senior Manager of Causeway Women’s Aid, has urged government to preserve and strengthen this vital funding for Northern Ireland’s most at risk.
 
“Women’s Aid emergency accommodation and specialist floating support services save lives. Women and children at high risk of death and injury need immediate support, protection and safety. Supporting People funding enables the women and children we work with to rebuild their lives, regain their independence and live safely in the community. It gives victims of domestic violence the chance to live their life free from abuse.”
 
She continued: “We’re already in the difficult position of having to turn some women away from refuges and place women on waiting lists for our outreach programmes, due to the extremely high demand for our services. Any cuts to the Supporting People programme would be devastating and would put the lives of these women and children at risk.”
Women’s Aid has joined the growing coalition of voluntary groups and charities calling on the Northern Ireland Executive to strengthen the Supporting People programme.
 
Funding has been frozen for seven years, which represents a cut of 20% in real terms, and the Supporting People programme is now subject to a government review.
 
Women’s Aid is also calling on members of the public to get involved in the Let’s Keep on Supporting People campaign on Facebook, Twitter, and by getting in touch with their local MLAs and Councillors to urge them to strengthen the funding of Supporting People and protect Northern Ireland’s most vulnerable people.
 
For further information, contact Sharon Burnett on 07773 366480 or on (028) 7035 6573. 
Notes for Editor:
 
Snapshot figures were taken from 13th November 2014 and include all women and children who accessed refuge and outreach services from Women’s Aid on that day in Northern Ireland.
Women’s Aid refuges and independent housing are among the 882 housing related services funded by the dedicated housing support programme every year.
Between 1 April 2013 – 31 March 2014, 999 women and 747 children stayed in Women’s Aid refuges. A further 3,558 women and 4,869 children accessed Floating Support outreach services. The 24 Hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Helpline answered 50,335 calls during this year. 
Between 1 April 2013 – 31 March 2014, the PSNI responded to 27,628 incidents and 12,720 crimes with a domestic motivation. This is the equivalent of one domestic incident every 19 minutes of every day. 7 murders with a domestic motivation were recorded in this year, 41% of all murders that took place in Northern Ireland in this year (the total number of murders in NI in 2013-14 was 17). 
Further details of the Let’s Keep On Supporting People campaign can be found at http://www.chni.org.uk/spcampaign.html#help and on the campaign Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SupportingPeopleNI