An urgent new investment to support women and girls impacted by violence access the support they need, during the cost of living crisis, has been announced by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today.
The £1million cost of living fund is being launched by the Mayor to immediately support vital VAWG services, in response to organisations tackling VAWG in London and across the country reporting that the cost of living crisis is disproportionately impacting women and girls, preventing them from being able to safely leave abusive relationships and situations.
On top of this, Sadiq is committing a further £3million to continue his support for local grassroots and community organisations in the capital over the next two years. This funding will help minority Black organisations, those with disabilities, neuro-diverse, LGBT+, older people and women who have no direct access to public funds or for whom mainstream provision is not always appropriate or safely accessible.
The Mayor’s renewed action to build a safer London for everyone comes as recent incidents across the UK have highlighted the growing epidemic of violence against women and girls (VAWG) and the need for more to be done now to help those most at risk. The support package will help the poorest women and groups in the capital and is part of the Mayor’s public health approach to tackling VAWG and ensure those most vulnerable during the cost of living crisis have access to the help they need.
This funding is in addition to the £105million investment the Mayor has overseen in tackling violence against women and girls since he was elected in 2016, which includes investing over £45million in specialist support for VAWG victims and survivors.
Today, Sadiq joined Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Sophie Linden and other City Hall staff in taking part in the L’Oréal Paris Stand Up Against Street Harassment bystander training course to help tackle street harassment, delivered by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust. The 60-minute free training is available both in-person or virtually, and is open for everybody including all businesses.
Research by L’Oréal Paris and the Suzy Lamplugh Trust reveals 80 per cent of women in the UK have reported experiencing harassment in public spaces and nine out of 10 people surveyed in the UK have experienced some form of unwanted behaviour – such as staring, intimidatingly sitting or standing right by someone, and verbal abuse – on public transport in the past five years.
The Suzy Lamplugh Trust, with the Mayor’s Women’s Night Safety Charter which is funded by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), is also delivering bystander training to businesses across the capital throughout this month and in March to help ensure that London is a city where all women feel confident and safe at night.
The training builds on the success of the Mayor’s award-winning #HaveAWord campaign which launched in March 2022 and encourages men of all ages to reflect on how they can play their part in tackling violence against women and girls. The campaign’s video – which is approaching its first anniversary – has been viewed over 15 million times and recent polling shows that 85 per cent of men who have viewed the video said they would call out misogynistic behaviour if they see it.
The Mayor’s refreshed VAWG strategy places a stronger emphasis on partnership working, prevention and education across a wide range of services in London, targeting the behaviour of those who perpetrate abuse, and builds on the recognition that violence against women and girls often starts with words and that we all have a responsibility to challenge the behaviour that can lead to violence and women feeling unsafe.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “There is an epidemic of violence against women and girls across the UK which needs to be treated with the utmost urgency – not just by the police and partners, but our society as a whole.
“We know the cost of living crisis is disproportionately impacting women, particularly those whose lives are impacted by abuse and inequality, and the organisations that are supporting them. That’s why I’m proposing a new £4million investment that will help women and girls of all backgrounds to access the help and support they need. This action is part of my refreshed VAWG strategy which is championing a public health approach to ending the violence and misogyny too many women face on a daily basis and building a safer London for everyone.
“I would encourage everyone, particularly men, to take part in L’Oreal Paris’ excellent Stand Up Against Street Harassment training delivered by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust and learn how you can be an active bystander and safely intervene if you see a woman being harassed in a public place.”