Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has today (17 February 2017) confirmed that 76 projects across the country will receive a share of £20 million to support victims of domestic abuse, creating more than 2,200 new bed spaces in refuges and other specialist accommodation.
This will support more than 19,000 victims with somewhere safe to live and rebuild their lives, and provide further access to education, employment and life skills training.
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said:
Domestic abuse is a devastating crime that all too often remains hidden. That’s why we’re determined that no victim will be turned away from the help they need, at the time they need it.
This significant investment shows our clear commitment to supporting and strengthening a resilient network of refuge services across the country, with further specialist support to help victims go on to rebuild their lives.
Last November, the government published its “Priorities for Domestic Abuse Services” setting out what local areas need to put in place to make sure their approach to domestic abuse is collaborative, robust and effective.
This latest funding has been awarded to local areas that will deliver on these priorities – for example by working collaboratively across local authority boundaries and with other partners, including specialist domestic violence service providers to strengthen support.
The funding will support a wide range of services and safe accommodation, including refuges, outreach services, Sanctuary Schemes, which help those at risk of violence to stay safe in their own homes through improved security measures and mainstream local authority accommodation.
Given that victims of domestic abuse will have different needs, many of the projects being supported are tailored towards support for specific groups including women with mental health issues, substance abuse problems, or the particular needs of different ethnic minority communities.
Communities Minister Lord Bourne said:
Domestic abuse ruins lives with many victims forced to leave their homes for their own safety and to access the services they urgently need.
Real change will only happen at the local level and it’s these authorities that are best placed to identify the best solutions. We’re clear that the victim must always come first and must always be able to access the specialist accommodation help and support they need.
Newcastle City Council
This project will look to improve and strengthen the availability of and access to refuges alongside other specialist accommodation including self-contained flats. This will be matched with improved support visits together with dedicated care for victims with complex needs, such as problematic drug use.
While the project is led by Newcastle City Council, it will be supported by 6 neighbouring councils, 9 specialist domestic abuse service and refuge providers, local health partnerships, drug misuse charities, housing providers as well as the local police service and the local Police and Crime Commissioner.
By working across councils and the relevant agencies the project aims to identify victims’ needs at a much earlier stage, improve their non-crisis work and offer better resettlement accommodation.
Suffolk Satellite Accommodation and Support
This project is a partnership between Suffolk County Council, Ipswich Borough Council and 7 district councils, with support from the Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner, Phoebe, Anglia Care Trust, and local refuges.
The aim of the project is to provide more accommodation for victims of domestic abuse who do not meet the criteria to be supported in refuge accommodation. This extra housing will be sourced through the local authority, registered social landlords and the private rented sector.
Working closely with existing refuges, the aim is to create a flexible alternative that also offers specialist support to meet the particular needs of victims with complex needs such as mental health issues or those from a BME background. The 3 refuges in Suffolk will also be able to use these extra spaces as ‘move on’ accommodation when the risk to the victim has reduced or when the victim is ready for greater independence.
These latest allocations follow the announcement of the £20 million fund to support victims of domestic abuse made on 3 November 2016.
The government has already taken steps to end domestic abuse, support victims and make sure offenders are prosecuted. This includes:
- new powers and laws – a new domestic abuse offence to capture coercive and controlling behaviour, the criminalisation of forced marriage, and the introduction of new stalking laws
- the national roll-out of domestic violence protection orders and the domestic violence disclosure scheme
- £15 million support for a 3-year Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Service Transformation Fund
- £3.5 million provided in 2015 that funded 46 successful bids from around the country, providing 710 extra bed spaces
- £10 million provided in 2014 to 2016, which benefitted 148 areas to support refuges across the country and boost provision for vulnerable victims of domestic violence