Lucy Allan MP has welcomed that Government has announced that an additional £125 million will be given to local authorities to support people who have experienced domestic abuse. £13.6 million of this will be directly allocated to Councils across the West Midlands.
The money will be used to support both victims of domestic abuse and their children, and will also fund safe accommodation for those affected in addition to counselling and therapy services.
Later this year, the Government will introduce the Domestic Abuse Bill, which will ensure that local authorities are required to guarantee safe accommodation and support for victims of domestic abuse.
Additionally, the Bill will create a legal definition of domestic abuse to provide clarity that domestic abuse can be financial, verbal and emotional as well as physical and sexual and that critically it is about patterns of abuse over time. As part of this definition, children will be explicitly recognised as victims if they witness abuse.
This builds on the extra £40 million that has been allocated to help victims during the pandemic and beyond, which has added to the £76 million pledged by Ministers last year to help the most vulnerable in society during the pandemic, as well as an extra £125 million for local authorities to provide support in safe accommodation for victims of domestic abuse and their children.
The £40 million includes:
- £20.7 million for local, community-based sexual violence and domestic abuse services, helping to reduce the amount of time survivors have to wait for support. I welcome the fact that male specific services will see a 60 per cent funding increase following a significant increase in demand for support from men and boys.
- £16 million to recruit more independent sexual violence and domestic abuse advisers – increasing their numbers by around 400 meaning more victims of all ages can access this vital support.
- £2 million for smaller specialist organisations helping BAME, LGBTQ+ or disabled victims.
- £1.3 million for remote and online services – allowing more victims to access support while at home. £800k of this will go to Finding Legal Options for Women Survivors (FLOWS), a digital tool that helps victims of domestic abuse to apply for emergency protection from the courts.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse please call Refuge’s National Domestic Abuse Helpline for free and confidential advice, 24 hours a day on 0808 2000 247 or through the contact form or live chat service. If you are a male victim, you can access support through the Men’s Advice Helpline on 0808 8010327. Other specialist support services are available. If you are in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police.