The economic downturn in the UK, along with austerity and funding cuts has led to cuts in frontline services across the board. The BAME (Black and Minority Ethnic) women’s sector has been especially hard hit.

GMSP Foundation believes there is no easy solution and that a coordinated and multi-pronged approach is needed. The government is a key player in helping to bring about a solution, and we want to support them with the information they need to help them to solve this problem.

The cost of violence against women and girls in England and Wales is a staggering £40.1 billion a year. Each rape costs the economy £76,000 including the costs of lost output as well as the health and care costs of survivors.

Despite this, the government only invests 0.1% of this figure to prevent and respond to violence against women. Of this, even less goes to BAME services and “…the result of this under investment is telling: 1 in 3 local authorities have no women’s refuge, but 9 out of 10 have no specialized BAME service.”

Massive cuts in funding, closure of refuges across the country and the loss of specialist services for women are devastating symptoms of a wider- and deeper- problem.

GMSP Foundation commissioned Sisters for Change to conduct a deep-dive analysis of the drivers and impact of these policy changes, with a view to making real-world, robust recommendations for change

Sisters for Change conducted a legal research and national advocacy project between January 2016 and June 2017, which included speaking to first and second-tier organizations as well as women who are survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

We anticipate that the findings from this project will act as a game-changer for the BAME women’s sector by:

  • Holding the government responsible for failing to effectively respond to violence against BAME women and for failing to deliver adequate remedies for BAME victims of violence in violation of its obligations under domestic and international law.
  • Pressuring the government to provide greater budget allocation at central level dedicated to funding BAME VAW organisations
  • Effecting policy change at the local level to improve responses to violence against BAME women
  • Supporting local BAME organisations in giving victims/survivors of violence a voice at local and national level, by giving them a resource grounded in a legal and human-rights driven framework.

We are excited to share that this report will be launched at the House of Lords on the 6th of November 2017.

A special thanks to Lord Popat for his support and partnership in hosting this event,

Our website will continue to carry updated news as we take this work forward.