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Housing minister confirms £22m for councils to support domestic abuse survivors

Housing minister Heather Wheeler MP has announced £22m funding for more than 60 projects across England for councils to help support domestic abuse survivors and their families.

The money will go towards rebuilding the lives of over 25,000 domestic abuse survivors, including over 2,200 new beds in refuges and other safe accommodation and access to education and employment.

A total of 63 projects will be supported by the funding over the next two years, delivered by individual councils who will work with local organisations.

As well as beds and safe accommodation, the projects will aim to deliver access to education, tailored employment and life skills guidance for survivors in order for them to “move towards building a safe and healthy future for themselves and their children – free from domestic abuse.”

The government has also published new guidance for councils to prioritise domestic abuse survivors in refuges when allocating social housing as well as encouraging councils to use existing powers to support survivors to remain safely in their own homes.

Wheeler said: “Domestic abuse is a devastating crime, which shatters the lives of survivors and their families. It is our duty to ensure survivors can seek help by providing the support they need to restart their lives.

“Through providing specialist accommodation and access to employment, this fund will make sure local authorities and charities can provide a strong safety net for anyone facing the threat of abuse in their own home.”

Local projects include Portsmouth & Hampshire New Approaches, which extends over five local authorities and provides targeted support for those who have suffered domestic abuse and violence and helping women, children and young people living in refuge accommodation.

Norfolk County Council’s ANCHOR initiative will also receive funding to provide tailored support to help individuals get on the path to recovery through partnerships with local organisations to ensure services are joined up.

Sandra Horley, chief executive of Refuge, said: “Critically, this funding ensures that many of our refuges will remain open and continue to provide life-saving specialist support to those experiencing domestic abuse. A small number would have been forced to close had we not received these crucial funds.

“We are equally delighted to be in a position to now expand one of our services in London, which provides essential support for survivors with additional needs.”

Image credit - funky-data

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