Jenrick announces funding support for council domestic abuse refuge services

COUNCILS are getting a funding boost to help provide essential and life-saving support in safe housing for survivors of domestic abuse and their children.

The housing secretary Robert Jenrick MP today announced that 75 projects across England will get a share of over £16 million. The support is expected to help up to 43,000 people access the help they need.

The new funding will enable victims and their children to stay safe, recover from the trauma, and access safe permanent rehousing where needed.

“Domestic abuse destroys lives and leaves victims living in fear in their own homes – the place where they should feel most safe and secure,” Jenrick said.

“No victim of domestic abuse should have to struggle to get the right support or wait months for help that they need. This new funding of £16.6 million will help local areas better protect victims and their children and provide essential life-saving services, delivering the urgent support that they need to rebuild their lives.”

This announcement today follows the confirmation of a new legal duty that will create a “consistent approach” to accommodation-based support for domestic abuse victims across England. This will, it is claimed, help all families recover and overcome their experiences, regardless of where they live.

In addition, the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) said that the Domestic Abuse Bill is being reintroduced to Parliament shortly. This will bring about the first ever statutory government definition of domestic abuse to specifically include economic abuse and controlling and manipulative non-physical abuse.

The Bill will also establish a new Domestic Abuse Commissioner and prohibit the cross-examination of victims by their abusers in the family courts.

“We are pleased the Government has announced funding to help councils fund domestic abuse refuge services,” said Councillor Simon Blackburn, chair of the Local Government Association’s safer and stronger communities board.

“Tackling domestic abuse is an issue that councils take extremely seriously, and they need the cooperation of other public services to tackle this appalling crime.

“With long-term, sustainable funding, councils can work with the Government and partners to further safeguard individuals and families from the physical and psychological harm of domestic abuse and prevent it happening in the first place.”

Hannah Gousy, head of policy and campaigns at Crisis, said: “For people experiencing domestic abuse having somewhere safe to flee to can be lifesaving. While we welcome the Government’s commitment to fund emergency refuge spaces, survivors also need safe permanent homes if they are to begin to rebuild their lives, and currently we’re denying many of this basic right.

“Left with nowhere else to go many people end up trapped in temporary accommodation for months or even years on end with their lives on hold, often far away from their families and the communities they know. This is no way to live.

“We have the means to fix it – the forthcoming Domestic Abuse Bill is the Government’s chance to make this right by ensuring that everyone fleeing domestic abuse is automatically entitled to a safe home. Putting lives on hold can’t carry on.”

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