Without money for a deposit, women can't access a safe home to escape their abusers

Without money for a deposit, women can't access a safe home to escape their abusers
As part of their work striving for a world that is free of domestic abuse towards women and girls, West Mercia Women’s Aid relies heavily upon the Vicar’s Relief Fund. The emergency grants let them act quickly to remove women from unsafe environments, including situations of physical, emotional, and financial abuse.

“There is something about giving money to those in need to enable them to pay off financial commitments that somehow doesn’t quite resonate. People are happier to donate and make it possible for essential purchases or for practical or emotional support.

But there’s an assumption that there are ‘benefits’ or ‘the system’ that will ensure that those who are homeless, especially vulnerable women, will get help with a deposit, or with paying their first month’s rent upfront. That really is not the case.”

Sue Coleman, CEO of West Mercia Women’s Aid

Most of the women whom West Mercia Women’s Aid helped to access the Vicar’s Relief Fund in 2023 used this to pay the first month’s rent on independent properties. Homes where they could be safe and supported, and where they could plan for a future free from coercion and abuse.   

Being able to breach that financial gap – an otherwise impossible bridge to cross – is crucially important for those women whose whole lives have been carefully controlled, and who have been left with no agency and no financial means of their own.

This impacts in particular upon migrant women like Zara, who have no recourse to any public funding which makes them all the more vulnerable. It also affects women in middle age or later life, like Gail, who no longer have dependent children and are therefore unable to attract the support available to those with young families.  In so many ways, older women surviving domestic abuse are barely visible to the services that need to support them. But you can help.

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