Since then, the Fund has supported frontline services to provide crisis intervention, increase safety and help support recovery, after a dramatic rise in cases of abuse over lockdown
NatWest is the first bank in the UK to offer this amount of financial support to domestic and economic abuse survivors
The fund has reached survivors from as far afield as Devon to the Shetland Islands, and from Carrickfergus in Northern Ireland to Aberystwyth in Wales
NatWest Group has released the latest figures from ‘The Circle Fund’ in partnership with SafeLives; the UK-wide charity dedicated to ending domestic abuse, for everyone and for good. The Circle Fund has given 123 services the opportunity to receive funding to distribute to survivors most in need of support.
According to the Office for National Statistics, lockdown saw a major surge in domestic abuse calls to helplines and SafeLives’ own research showed more than 90% of frontline domestic abuse services reported an increase in demand.
In 2020, NatWest Group donated £1m to SafeLives, who will continue to distribute it those in need over a three year period. Through the Fund, a wide range of services including My Sister’s Place, Money Advice Plus and Women’s Aid have so far been able to support 1494 survivors with grants and 93% of those receiving assistance have been women.
The scheme has funded survivors in three particular areas:
Crisis and intervention: e.g., paying for hotel rooms, transfer costs to a refuge
Establishing Safety: e.g., relocation or moving costs
Recovering and resilience: e.g., fixtures and fittings for the home, technology to access education and support
Since 2021 our data for the Fund found:
123 frontline domestic abuse services have been awarded grants so far – around 40% of these are very small or specialist in terms of provision
Over £683k has been distributed to frontline services with £231k already distributed to help victims of domestic abuse
On average, the grants requested were £131. Specifically, average grants for crisis and intervention are £108, establishing safety £118 and £157 for costs towards recovery and resilience
The fund has reached survivors from as far afield as Devon to the Shetland Islands, and from Carrickfergus in Northern Ireland to Aberystwyth in Wales.
Who has received help?
The majority of survivors helped (38%) were between 24 and 34 years old
18% of recipients identified as Asian or British Asian; 9% were Black/Caribbean/African/Black British.
16% have no recourse to public funds
63% of those helped have children in the house
27% do not know if they have outstanding debt
David Lindberg, CEO of Retail Banking at NatWest said:
“Our report found that people from all walks of life across communities in the UK have been affected by economic and domestic abuse. As a bank we are committed to championing people and families, which is why we’re proud to continue our partnership with Safelives. We donated £1m to SafeLives at the height of the pandemic when the increase in reported cases called attention to the scale of this harmful issue. Since last year we’ve seen the tangible impact for survivors, helping to build their financial confidence and independence and we will continue to look at ways to support and protect those affected.”
Suzanne Jacob, Chief Executive of SafeLives said:
“We are so grateful to NatWest for this amazing donation. We can see already that the Circle Fund is making a difference to the lives of hundreds of survivors of domestic abuse. It’s sobering that relatively small amounts of money can be life changing and we are proud to continue to support the many frontline domestic abuse services who have signed up to the Fund, and their work in walking alongside victims and survivors to support them to safety and live the lives they want after harm has happened.”
Together with partners, SafeLives and Surviving Economic Abuse, NatWest Group is already working to ensure that vulnerable customers are protected at this challenging time.