A safe, just and equal world for women

Advance responds to Spring Budget

March 6, 2024
We live in a society blighted by misogyny and sexism. Women are not safe from violence and abuse, either in the streets or in their own homes.

One in four women will experience domestic abuse or sexual abuse in their lifetimes. Around 90 women will lose their lives every year at the hands of men, and yet more through suicide as a result of domestic abuse. 7 in 10 women supported by Advance’s criminal justice services have experienced domestic abuse.

In the last month, we have all listened to how women like Sarah Everard devastatingly lost their lives unnecessarily as our criminal justice system failed to take violence against women and girls seriously. We listened to Jess Phillips MP read out the names of more than 100 women killed by men, noting that over half could have been saved. Just minutes before we heard the Spring Budget, we heard Rishi Sunak tell us that more needed to be done to improve rape prosecutions.
Domestic abuse and other forms of violence against women and girls have never been higher on the cultural agenda. And yet, the government has once again failed to prioritise tackling misogyny, sexism, and violence within this budget. Domestic abuse costs society upwards of £77billion; early intervention measures could cost just a fraction of this.

2.1 million people experience domestic abuse in England and Wales every year but only 5% of domestic abuse crimes are prosecuted. We need to see robust action from the government to reform our criminal justice system.

In our report “Her Story, Her Justice”, we set out how national and local governments could embed our innovative Whole Justice Approach to improve the justice response to domestic abuse by:

  • Ensuring access to specialist Criminal Justice IDVAs working in all police stations and court settings, for all victims/survivors affected by domestic abuse and delivered by services which are culturally competent and appropriate.
  • Re-establishing and accrediting a national network of Specialist Domestic Abuse Courts, including the rights of victims to access special measures in court, ensuring that they are adhering to the principles which identify them as specialist.

We estimate the cost of embedding the Whole Justice Approach nationally would be in the region of £16.4 million per year – a modest investment which could yield significant savings by reducing repeat domestic abuse incidents.

Without proper support, women’s experiences of violence and abuse can leave them traumatised and with nowhere to turn, directly and indirectly resulting in their homelessness or criminalisation. We need to see government commit to their own Female Offender Strategy by investing in services which divert them away from the criminal justice system and provide long-term support beyond probation. We know that sending women to prison is not cost effective – a place in custody averages at £64,000 per women; we estimate that it costs just £2,500 to support a woman in her community at a women’s centre.

Pressures on local authority funding continue to put services for women at risk. We stand with our colleagues in the sector in calling for a firmer commitment to address domestic abuse, backed up by ring-fenced funding for community-based services to the tune of £238 million. There must also be a separate guarantee to ring-fence funding for specialist ‘by and for services’ to support marginalised survivors, including those with no recourse to public funds. We continue to see chronic underfunding of these services nationally, as well as cuts locally as local authorities collapse into the brink of bankruptcy. We also support our colleagues in their ask for the government to guarantee a roll-over year of funding in 2025-26 to provide critical security for essential VAWG services in this uncertain financial environment.

Without urgent government action we risk losing more women and girls to male violence.


Media enquiries

For more information, please contact Tracie Couper, Press Officer at Advance, at tracie.c@advancecharity.org.uk or on 0743 2700 287.

About Advance
  • Advance’s vision is a world in which women and children lead safe, equal, violence-free lives so that they can flourish and actively contribute to society. The charity works with women who experience domestic abuse to be safe and take control of their lives, and women who have committed crime or are at risk of offending to break the cycle.
  • As well as providing direct support, Advance works with statutory services, government agencies and other women’s charities to ensure a holistic approach to the issues these women face.
  • Women must be referred to Advance, via statutory services or the charity’s self-referral scheme. For more information about who Advance is able to support, please visit Get help 
  •  For facts and statistics about domestic abuse and women in the criminal justice system, as well as Advance’s work, please visit Our impact 



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