Domestic abuse victims to be supported by new fund

A £3.2m domestic abuse funding pot pledged in the summer budget is now available for bids from local partnerships

refuge; domestic abuse
32 specialist refuge centres for women have been closed. Photo:Photofusion/REX

A £3.2m fund launched last week will help local authorities support victims of domestic abuse.

The funding boost announced in the summer budget is designed to fill the gaps in current provision, including refuges.

Innovative proposals

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) said it would be open to proposals from local partnerships that demonstrate how the needs of victims could be met in innovative ways.

Communities minister Baroness Williams said: “Alongside the vital role of refuges that provide a safe haven for people when they need it, we will also be looking at further innovative approaches to prevention, early intervention and support for victims.”

‘Stopgap’

Chief executive of domestic violence charity Refuge, Sandra Horley, said she welcomed the new funding but called it a “stopgap”. She said a longer-term sustainable solution is required.

“There have never been enough refuges in this country to meet the need and recent local authority spending cuts and short-term contracts have left many existing women’s refuges on shaky ground,” Horley said.

“Domestic violence is estimated to cost the country £16bn per year so investing in services makes economic sense as it will save money in the long run.”

The summer budget also announced a review of the full range of services currently available to victims of domestic abuse which will be fed into a wider spending review.

A DCLG spokesperson said: “The government will draw together evidence from frontline professionals to review how services for victims of violence against women and girls and funded and delivered and fed into a refreshed violence against women and girls strategy in the autumn.”

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