New support for survivors of domestic violence

Housing bosses said £16.6m will be shared between 75 councils to help fund domestic abuse refuge services.

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

‘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.’

The announcement comes after housing bosses revealed plans to introduce the Domestic Abuse Bill, which they say will bring about the first-ever statutory government definition of domestic abuse to specifically include economic abuse and controlling and manipulative non-physical abuse.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said the Bill will also establish a new Domestic Abuse Commissioner and prohibit the cross-examination of victims by their abusers in the family courts.

‘On average, two women every week across England and Wales are killed by a current or former partner.
‘Women’s lives lost to male violence –  leaving children without mothers, parents without daughters, families without loved ones. This must serve as a stark reminder to Government and law enforcement alike that domestic abuse is a crime, must be taken more seriously and addressed with urgency.
‘The announcement by the Government of extra funds to support domestic abuse services is a crucial and welcome temporary measure – but will only go some way towards solving the ongoing funding crisis refuge services are experiencing.

‘Refuges form part of an essential national network of support, yet years of local authority funding cuts have had an impact on their sustainability. Services have been cut to the bone and urgently need a long-term funding solution to prevent them from being forced to close.

‘Refuge has worked closely with the government on sustainable funding for services and eagerly awaits the new statutory duty to fund refuges, with sufficient funding to ensure they every woman has somewhere safe to go if they need it.

‘The Government has a real opportunity to address gender-based violence by ensuring that the Domestic Abuse Bill comes back to Parliament as soon as possible.
‘We hope that the Government will act quickly to ensure the Bill is strengthened, and has a smooth passage into law. We are eagerly awaiting the new statutory duty to fund refuges, which must be backed up with enough funding to ensure that every woman has somewhere safe to go if they need it.
‘No woman fleeing domestic abuse should be turned away from safety. The Bill has the ability to transform the response to domestic abuse – and that chance must not be lost.  Women’s lives depend on it.

Cllr Simon Blackburn, chair of the Local Government Association’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said:

‘We are pleased the Government has announced funding to help councils fund domestic abuse refuge services.

‘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.’

Photo Credit – Pixabay

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