Britons give more to donkey sanctuary than abuse charities
* Cost of violence to women estimated at £40bn a year
* Government ‘should make effort to change attitudes’
The British public gives more to a Devon-based donkey sanctuary than the most prominent charities trying to combat violence and abuse against women, a report released today by a leading philanthropy watchdog reveals.
New Philanthropy Capital (NPC) has calculated that more than 7 million women have been affected by domestic violence but found that Refuge, the Women’s Aid Federation and Eaves Housing for Women have a combined annual income of just £17m. By contrast the Donkey Sanctuary, which has looked after 12,000 donkeys, received £20m in 2006.
NPC estimates the cost to society of domestic abuse, sexual violence, forced marriage, trafficking and honour crimes has reached £40bn a year – greater than the country’s defence budget.
“As a society we are not spending enough on this issue whether through charities or the government,” said Justine Järvinen, the author of the report. “Violence against women appears regularly as the subject of media reports and in the storylines of soap operas but rarely does it come up in normal conversation, which suggests there is a stigma around it. The truth is it is very common.”
Every year 1.5 million women experience domestic abuse at least once, 800,000 are sexually assaulted and 100,000 raped, the report states. More than one in four women has experienced at least one incident of domestic violence by a current or former partner, which means 7.4 million women in the UK have suffered domestic abuse, according to government figures.
The NPC was established by former executives of Goldman Sachs to analyse the effectiveness of charities for wealthy donors and has calculated the cost of this abuse at £40bn a year. This is made up of £10bn for the cost of lost economic output caused by abuse as well as the police work, court cases and psychological and physical healthcare arising from the abuse. Victims may also place greater demands on housing and benefit budgets if they have to move away, often with children, from a shared home with the abuser.
NPC has calculated the emotional cost of abuse of women is £30bn a year, using accepted measures devised by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence for translating emotional cost into financial cost. Sexual violence accounts for £26bn of the cost with domestic violence accounting for £20bn.
Prostitution, trafficking and violence against black and ethnic minority women accounts for the rest. “The government has a responsibility to change attitudes and prevent abuse from happening in the first place,” said Järvinen. “A third of men think that domestic violence is acceptable if their partner has been nagging them.”
Today’s report references an ICM poll which found that more people would call the police if someone was mistreating their dog than if someone was mistreating their partner. NPC is calling for concerted government action to tackle violence against women and is urging charitable donors to divert more to non-governmental organisations in the sector.
It said that the 200 largest charities which provide services for abused women or campaign to prevent abuse have a combined annual income of £97m. That compares with £110m for the RSPCA, £149m for the Royal National Lifeboat Institute and £83m for the Royal Opera House.
* Animal charities and rape crisis centres
* A cause well worth funding – The impact of domestic violence on black and minority ethnic women may be worse than for other women