A £10 million government fund will help support refuges across the country and boost provision for vulnerable victims of domestic violence and their families.
As the world marks International Women’s Day, the government announced the 148 councils that will receive a share of the funding over the next 2 years, to support refuges in their area.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said councils owe a clear duty to vulnerable victims who flee their homes, and that today’s (9 March 2015) funding will help ensure they offer help to keep victims and their children safe.
The funding will both keep refuges open, and improve standards in existing refuges, maintaining a strong national network offering support to women at risk.
Safe support for victims of domestic violence
A victim of domestic violence will attempt to flee the perpetrator an average 50 times before they are successful.
The £10 million fund will ensure councils offer more than bricks and mortar – support at the refuges will also include counselling and support for both adult and child victims, advice on healthy relationships, and help with training and employment to help maximise their stability and independence.
The councils receiving the funding today include:
South Tyneside, who will receive £99,000 over the next 2 years to support 9 refuge units in their area
Taunton Deane and West Somerset council, who will work with Mendip district council, Sedgemoor district council and Somerset county council to use an allocation of £197,000 over the next 2 years for 14 refuge units in their areas
Coventry council who will receive £93,000 over the next 2 years to support 17 refuge units
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said:
We are determined to ensure there is a strong safety net for anyone facing the frightening threat of violence in their own home.
Today’s £10 million funding will ensure we maintain a national network of refuges so any woman facing the threat of domestic violence anywhere in the country has somewhere to turn.
Polly Neate, Chief Executive at Women’s Aid, said:
We warmly welcome the news that specialist domestic violence refuges in 148 local areas will receive additional funding. Women and their children across the country will benefit from this, and know that there is a safe space for them if they need it.
We are pleased the government listened to our SOS campaign and saved these services. It is essential this money is spent properly on specialist refuges, and we will be monitoring how the fund is being spent to ensure this happens.
This is one of a number of measures the government is taking to ensure councils can support women at risk of domestic violence. Others include:
investing £6.5 billion to help vulnerable people through housing support – with a proportion used by local authorities to commission refuge services
making £500 million available since 2010 to local authorities and the voluntary sector to prevent and tackle homelessness and rough sleeping, helping the most vulnerable in society – including victims of domestic abuse
publishing new homelessness statutory guidance which makes clear the levels of support that local authorities are expected to provide for victims of abuse
Today, the government also confirmed ongoing funding for UKRefugesOnline, a UK-wide service offering a detailed database of available bed spaces across the country, that helps victims of domestic abuse find the safety and support they need when they need it.
is published today.
The funding will support both female and male victims of domestic abuse.
We have published new homelessness statutory guidance which makes clear the levels of support that local authorities are expected to provide for victims of abuse.
The government has introduced a range of measures to support women and girls at risk of violence.
We are committed to putting victims and witnesses first, and under this government funding for specialist support services will more than double to over £92 million in 2015 to 2016, including an increase in local budgets to fund vital services on the ground.
This will give victims access to the best possible support, no matter where they live in the country, and help ensure they are not alone in coming to terms with the impact of crime. The majority of this will be given to police and crime commissioners to commission victims’ services based on the needs of their communities. The Victims’ Surcharge has been extended and increased so that criminals, not taxpayers, are contributing more to services that support victims.
Since 2011 more than £4 million per year has been provided to female rape support centres in England and Wales, including funding to create the 13 new centres created through the rape support fund. This has increased to £4.4 million in 2014 of which £300,000 has been set aside to allocate to 2 new centres.
In September 2014 we announced, that the coalition government has met its commitment to fund 15 new rape support facilities across the country since coming to power in 2010. There are currently 84 established centres receiving government funding through to 2015 to 2016, with 2 new centres due to open in 2015.