In light of recent instances of violence against women and girls (VAWG) making the news in the UK, this guest blog shares the thoughts of Nimat Jaffer, VAWG Programme Manager at The London Community Foundation (LCF). It details her findings on the rising demand for services post-pandemic, how different communities are affected, the increase in complexity of cases and the sustainability of this for organisations in the charity sector.  

Withholding food. Stalking. Forced marriage. Child marriage. Female genital mutilation. Domestic servitude. Sexual exploitation. Controlling behaviour. Rape. Human trafficking. Manipulation. Debt bondage. Intimidation. Physical violence. Forced labour. Breast ironing. Murder. The list of violence against women and girls (VAWG) continues and is exhaustive.

What’s also exhaustive are the grassroots organisations that are working hard to tackle these human rights violations and support survivors within London’s civil society.

Research carried out before the pandemic, including that commissioned by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), found that demand for specialist support increased in terms of both volume and complexity of need. It was also found that Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) services face even more barriers to accessing funding. For example, BME services are often small and specialist. Tendering processes are usually designed for larger organisations, and the specialism of small organisations often does not fit with funders who want to have a broad reach.

In response to this, as well as part of MOPAC’s wider VAWG strategy, a £3m VAWG Grassroots Fund was set up to support the reduction in these violent crimes, prevention initiatives and victim recovery. The London Community Foundation (LCF) is managing the programme in partnership with The Social Innovation Partnership (TSIP) and on behalf of MOPAC.

The increase in domestic violence, sex work, harmful practices (such as female genital mutilation and breast ironing), modern slavery, and human trafficking has been highlighted throughout the pandemic, so it’s unsurprising that with the easing of lockdown many once-hidden victims and survivors are seeking support.

Read the full article about gender-based violence after the pandemic by Nimat Jaffer at NPC.