Councils, bid now to support victims of domestic abuse

At the Domestic Abuse Summit held at Westminster City Hall today (18 September 2015), Communities Minister Baroness Williams of Trafford said:

This government is fully committed to providing a sanctuary for anyone who finds themselves in a situation where they are forced to leave their home.

Over the past few months I have visited specialist domestic abuse service providers across the country. I met brave women who, despite their dreadful experiences, were able to share their personal journeys, and explain how this support had helped start the healing process.

Their stories of domestic abuse were shocking, and I was glad that I serve in a government that has the power to do something about it. And we have done something about it.

Our new financial support will target gaps in the provision of domestic abuse support services. I’d urge local authorities who are in need to bid for a share of this fund by 1 October.

In the July Budget a £3 million fund for 2015 to 2016 was announced to address short-term funding gaps in the provision of specialist accommodation-based support, and provide support for victims seeking to access these services.

The fund is inviting bids for work in 2015 to 2016, led by local authorities working in partnership with service providers. The deadline for bids is 1 October 2015.

The Summer Budget 2015 also announced a review of the full range of services currently available to victims of domestic abuse.

Today’s Domestic Abuse Summit has a key role in this review and will see ministers lead an open and frank discussion with service providers, domestic violence charities and local councils to discover how best to protect and support victims of abuse.

The findings from the Domestic Abuse Summit – and the rest of the extensive evidence gathering – will feed into the Spending Review and an updated Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy.

The deadline for bids is 1 October 2015.

The Budget Statement announced a total additional funding of £3.2 million for victims of domestic abuse, made up of: £3.07 million for the Innovation Fund in 2015 to 2016 and £131,000 in 2015 to 2016 for additional workers for the UK Refuges Online.

As well as the additional funding, domestic abuse is a major priority for the government’s Troubled Families programme. The focus on tackling domestic violence and abuse has been increased in the new expanded Troubled Families programme.

Last year the coalition government announced a new £10 million government fund to help support refuges across the country and boost provision for vulnerable victims of domestic violence. This built on steps taken by the government to end domestic violence, support victims and ensure offenders are prosecuted.