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21.10.19

Government to protect domestic abuse survivors with local council support

Local councils to provide life-saving support to domestic abuse survivors thanks to new legal duty announced by Government.

From next year, every council in England will have a legal requirement to support individuals who have endured domestic abuse and get them into safe accommodation, Local Government Secretary, Robert Jenrick has confirmed.

The recent Queen’s Speech outlined plans to amend the Domestic Abuse Bill to include a statutory duty on councils to provide essential support.

The Bill, which is currently before the House, will ensure that the response to domestic abuse is more protective of victims and their children, in addition to pursuing their abusers.

Some councils are already providing tailored support to those in need, but this new move will mean that whether or not you receive this life-saving support will no longer depend on where you live.

Individuals fleeing abusive relationships will start benefitting from this new development from 2021, however the government has also announced a further £15m in funding to run essential services in 2020-2021.

Compared to 2019-2020, this is a 20% increase on domestic abuse services.

Local Government Secretary, Robert Jenrick MP, said:

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

“This duty upon councils will now be brought forward – ensuring survivors get the help they need wherever they are, so they can rebuild their lives away from the threat of abuse.”

“This government is determined to pursue abusers, better protect victims and their children, and ensure they have the support they need – so we can end this abhorrent practice for good.”

The amended Domestic Abuse Bill will also see an improvement in the government definition of domestic abuse, specifically including economic abuse, controlling and manipulative non-physical abuse.

Local authorities will be required to develop and publish strategies which outline in detail the different support services on offer for people fleeing violent relationships, including specialist support and refuge accommodation.

In November last year, over 25,000 more survivors were provided access to the help they needed with a £22m investment for domestic abuse projects across England.

The money went towards providing over 2,200 new beds in refuges and safe accommodation, access to education and tailored employment and life skills guidance.

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