Councils across England are to be allocated funding from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, as the department announces measures to help them rebuild their lives.
Around 70,000 victims of domestic abuse are to benefit, with funding of £257 million being allocated to local councils around the country to provide support for victims and their children, as they look to move on with their lives in a safe way.
Safe accommodation spaces such as refuges and shelters, as well as provision for counselling, financial advice, rehousing assistance and play therapy for traumatised children are all ways that councils could reinvest the money to benefit those fleeing abuse. The funding will also be allocated over two years, issued as a flexible grant to allow local authorities to ensure the money is spent in a more effective way.
Felicity Buchan, Housing and Homelessness Minister, said:
“Domestic abuse is a devastating crime, and this funding will help victims and their children across the country who need to escape from danger to recover and rebuild their lives in safe housing.
“Whether it’s counselling, advice on how to handle finances or help finding a new home – councils can use this money to make a real difference on the ground, giving victims the help and support they need.”
As the 2019-20 crime survey reported, an estimated 2.3 million people experienced domestic abuse in the previous year and this funding follows the £330 million that has already been invested by the government, since 2014, to tackle the crime. This has already seen a 20% increase in the number of refuge bed spaces.
This round of funding, as well as the £2 million that was provided during the pandemic to increase the capacity of domestic abuse helplines and online services and £5.7 million that is being invested in the Respite Rooms programme to support rough sleepers, all follows the government’s landmark Domestic Abuse Act 2021. This act places a legal duty on councils to fund support and safe accommodation for all victims of domestic abuse, and their families.