Cash aid for abuse victims is hailed

Carly Fairhurst
Carly Fairhurst

THE mother of a Wigan teen killed by her boyfriend has welcomed plans for a major new purse to help victims of domestic violence and other crimes to which women and girls are vulnerable.

The Big Lottery Fund has pledged almost £50m towards activities and assistance for female victims of various kinds of abuse.

One in four women will experience domestic violence during their lifetime and up to three million women and girls across the UK experience rape, domestic violence, stalking or other violence each year.

The £48.5m lotto investment will largely be used to finance tried and tested work where there is evidence of success and effectiveness. It will also raise awareness, support preventative work and share what works and lessons learnt.

Sheila Fairhurst, whose 19-year-old daughter Carly died at the hands of her abusive boyfriend nine years ago and has been campaigning against domestic violence ever since, today expressed delight at the pledge.

The Hindley mum, who regularly gives talks with husband Trevor about their traumatic experiences, said: “This money is great news. There is never enough cash in the system to help people in real difficulties, especially in these times of tight budgets.

“It is not as easy as you might think to ‘break loose’ from an abusive relationship. To walk away can involve losing a roof over your head, clothes and money. Sometimes there is the issue of changing children’s schools; or even re-housing pets. They all cost and help groups only have so much money and for specific purposes.”

Clare Jones, joint chief executive of WomenCentre, the largest women’s centre in the UK, said: “We welcome this fund, which will be a lifeline for so many women’s projects across the country that are currently struggling to survive. It will be a major boost to projects through which women and girls are breaking free from situations that have led to experiences of isolation, shame and fear. This is an opportunity for diverse communities of women and girls to work together to overcome difficulties and build safer, more positive futures.”

Projects benefiting from the cash include those focusing on emotional support, advocacy, financial advice, childcare, community-based women’s centres and rape support centres, and services to meet the needs of refugees, asylum seekers and black and minority ethnic women.

Women and girls’ organisations interested in applying for funding can find more information at www.biglotteryfund.org.uk.