A message from our Chair and Chief Executive
The need for our services had never been greater, with over 7,000 referred to us this year.
This year has seen unprecedented public awareness about violence and abuse against women and girls (VAWG) in the UK. The Domestic Abuse Bill consultation was an opportunity for survivors, experts and campaigners to be heard, to transform our response to domestic abuse and to recognise in law its many forms, including economic and psychological abuse.
Yet this is also the year where reported domestic abuse incidents and domestic homicides have reached a new peak, the highest in five years in London and across the UK.
One in four women and girls, more than 4 million, will still suffer domestic abuse in their lifetime; two women are still killed every week by a current or ex-partner; one in five children will still live in a home with domestic abuse, often direct victims themselves; and the number of women caught in the criminal justice system continues to be high.
As we delivered our first year of Advance’s current five-year strategy, the need for our services has never been greater, with over 7,000 referred to Advance. Our strategy is based on our continued commitment to support women and children suffering domestic abuse to be safe and change their lives, and those caught in the criminal justice system to end the cycle of re-offending, helping to keep families together and to build positive futures.
Not only is the need for our services at a peak, but is also more complex. As such, we have launched new innovative services to reach women with multiple disadvantages and needs, including domestic abuse, mental health, problematic substance use and homelessness. These services are delivered through our pan-London Minerva WrapAround programme, our Women’s Centres and our Meeting Survivors Where They Are programme. We were able to build on existing partnerships and develop new ones, collaborating with specialist organisations across London, to share best practice and maximise impact.
Advance continues to amplify the voice and experience of women and children service-users, to promote systems-change in a coordinated community response and to share our practice-based evidence with policy makers. We continued to work with Government, at local and national level, to highlight the need for vital specialist community-based services for survivors and for those caught in the criminal justice system, recognising that they themselves are often victims of abuse and trauma.
We face significant challenges, including economic and political uncertainty, a tough fundraising environment and a changing commissioning context for VAWG services. In response, we have invested in our fundraising efforts to diversify our income streams, so that we can plan for a more sustainable future, to enable us to continue our vital work with survivors and their families.
Every day we are inspired by those we support, which would not be possible without the amazing women in our teams across Advance and our Board of Trustees, all of whom are passionately committed to a world where women and girls can lead safe, violence-free and equal lives.
We thank you all.
Christine Losecaat MBE
Chief Executive Officer