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‘Prioritise domestic abuse victims’ government guidance says

Victims of domestic abuse should be a priority for social housing, guidance published today has stated.

The guidance drawn up by the DCLG clarifies that local authorities should prioritise victims of domestic abuse living in safe accommodation, such as a refuge when placing residents into social housing.

It also makes it clear that victims who have fled to refuges in other parts of the country should not be disadvantaged when it comes to accessing social housing.

Local authorities are also encouraged to help victims of domestic abuse to remain in their own homes without their abuser should they wish to do so.

The guidance comes during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and is the latest initiative implemented by the government to try to combat violence against women and girls.

Since March last year the government has pledged over £100m by 2020 to support this work.

In November 2016 a £20m fund was launched over two years for specialist accommodation based support and service reforms.

Lord Bourne, communities minister, explained: “Domestic abuse is a devastating crime with complex challenges that extend far beyond the boundaries of local authorities.

“That’s why we’re committed to providing local authorities with the robust guidance they need to improve victims’ access to long-term and secure housing they need to rebuild their lives.”

The guidance, which is subject to a 10 week consultation, builds on and clarifies existing guidelines, which the government says encourage local authorities to forego residency tests and prioritise the most vulnerable in society.

The government has said that it will shortly be introducing a new Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill to protect and support victims further, ensuring that agencies effectively respond to domestic abuse.

The consultation will be open until 5 January 2017.


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