No Recourse to Public Funds and the Pandemic
Being a Domestic Abuse Charity each year has its own turbulence. In the last 15 years, it’s been about survival, sustainability against continuous change.
For the women who have needed us and turned to us, 2020 gave us stories of unrest, uncertainty, stress, anxiety, and fear due to the Pandemic. They experienced lots of change, had to think differently, and safeguard in new ways. We have stories of mothers, children, single women, and extended families. On the positive side, some women said the Pandemic gave them respite from unwelcome connections and extended families.
Our funders were really our rescuers, in enabling us to connect with our users in new ways, more personal and connected.
Reflecting on the stories of women who have connected with us over the past year, I still state that the most vulnerable cohort are women with No Recourse to Public Funds, still excluded. I am disappointed that despite so much existing evidence of need, the government spent over a million to set up a pilot project to establish need when this finance could have been used to work directly on solutions and supported the need instead. We urge the government to reconsider this position in the final stage of the domestic abuse bill ascension.
In our experience, most women affected by domestic abuse and NRPF are not here illegally. They came to the UK, believing in a successful marriage. The majority of these women are never aware of NRPF and never heard of the terminology used to seek support. Many have children and in complex situations, excluded from the vulnerable groups of people.
Out of the Pandemic, we have experienced a number of successful initiatives. Tentative at our starting point, watching the growth, our own confidence, and trust in the waiting period and now, flourishing. I am proud of our CHAI CHAT functions, our most accessible platform, an in-road to other provisions. Developing expert panels from the UK and abroad, this is our specialist platform, our warm-up and follow up platform – a positive, healthy mutation.
Using this learning of 2020, we look into 2021 as a solid step, diversifying, broadening, and strengthening our reach.