Governments may publish policies to address key issues, such as violence against women and girls, but fail to back them up with sufficient funds. The Women’s Budget Group found this to be the case in the UK.
In 2016 the UK government published an updated VAWG strategy and committed to providing £20m a year to fund support services. But since 2010, it has made huge cuts to local government funding which, among other things, is a big provider of VAWG services, such as refuges and counselling.
Since 2010, 17% of the specialist refuges in England have closed. On average 155 women and 103 children a day are turned away from refuges for lack of space. In addition, there have been cuts to police services, the Crown Prosecution Service and legal aid, making it more difficult for women who have experienced violence to access to justice. The £20m a year promised was nowhere near the investment required to deliver the VAWG strategy. It is tiny compared to the £40bn that VAWG is estimated to cost society annually.
Governments may claim that spending on a particular service has been maintained, or even increased. It is important to assess whether this takes into account inflation (rising prices) and/or the changing needs of the population.