UK: £125 million allocated to councils to support domestic abuse victims and their children
Councils across England have been allocated £125 million funding to provide support for victims of domestic abuse and their children, Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing Eddie Hughes announced today (12 February 2021).
The funding will help ensure victims and their children who need it are able to access life-saving support such as therapy, advocacy and counselling in safe accommodation, including refuges.
The money will fund a new duty on councils to ensure victims and their children are able to access life-saving support in safe accommodation – a key part of the government’s landmark Domestic Abuse Bill.
The duty will come into effect later this year, subject to the Domestic Abuse Bill becoming law.
This is part of a wider package of support for victims of rape and domestic abuse, with a £40 million funding boost for victim support services announced last week.
The government has taken action to help the most vulnerable in society during the pandemic, with an unprecedented £76 million pledged in May to ensure vital services including refuges, helplines and counselling remain accessible.
Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing, Eddie Hughes MP said:
Domestic abuse is a heinous crime which threatens the lives of victims in their own homes where they should feel safe. So it’s right that we’re giving victims support in safe accommodation and providing councils with money to deliver essential services that will help them and their children rebuild their lives.
This is part of a long-term strategy to provide broader support for domestic abuse victims both in safe accommodation like refuges, and in their own homes.
The funding has been allocated following consultation and is in addition to £6 million given last year to help councils prepare for the duty.
Safeguarding Minister, Victoria Atkins said:
The Domestic Abuse Bill is a landmark piece of legislation that will transform our response to victims in every region in England and Wales and help bring perpetrators to justice.
This funding for local authorities will ensure victims of domestic abuse and their children are able to access safe accommodation, a crucial step in supporting them to recover and rebuild their lives. This forms a key part of the Bill’s aim to empower and protect victims and survivors.
Throughout the pandemic, the government has invested millions in ensuring that vital support services remain accessible, and has launched the ‘Ask for ANI’ codeword scheme which is already helping victims of domestic abuse access much needed support from thousands of pharmacies across the UK.
Victoria Wilson, Cabinet Member for Communities at Staffordshire County Council said:
Domestic abuse is a terrible crime and tackling the issue remains a priority for the County Council and our partners. We recognise the significant impact it has on not only victims but their wider families too.
Today’s announcement is welcome and means that victims of domestic abuse and their families can access the specialist support they need. This includes getting access to life-saving help such as therapy, advocacy and counselling, all in safe accommodation. The funding will also give our local refuge providers some financial security for the coming year.
We will continue to work closely with local organisations and charities from across the county and our partners including Staffordshire Police, Staffordshire Fire & Crime Commissioner, district and borough councils and the NHS, to help break the cycle of domestic abuse.
Originally announced in the Spending Review, the £125 million is another big step towards tackling domestic abuse, ensuring victims are given safe accommodation and support to help them recover and rebuild their lives.
Last month the government launched the ‘Ask for ANI’ codeword scheme, which provides victims of domestic abuse access to immediate help from the police or other support services from their local pharmacy. The scheme is available nationwide in all Boots pharmacies – of which there are approximately 2,300 stores – and almost 300 independent pharmacies.