£22m for domestic abuse victims

domestic violence

The government has pledged £22 million to help victims of domestic abuse.

According to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s (MHCLG) press release, the money will deliver ‘tailored support to more than 25,000 survivors and their families,’ which will include ‘over 2,200 additional beds refuges and other safe accommodation’.

Hmm. By my calculations, that’s £880 per person, not including ‘their families’ obviously. How much did potholes get in October’s budget? Oh yeah, £420m.

Anyway, the cash will support over 60 projects in England over the next two years ‘ensuring thousands of survivors have access to the help they need, when they need it’.

Housing minister Heather Wheeler MP said: ‘Domestic abuse is a devastating crime, which shatters the lives of survivors and their families. It is our duty to ensure survivors can seek help by providing the support they need to restart their lives.

‘Through providing specialist accommodation and access to employment, this fund will make sure local authorities and charities can provide a strong safety net for anyone facing the threat of abuse in their own home.’

In other news, the MHCLG has published a summary of responses to a consultation that set out proposals for new statutory guidance to assist victims living in refuges.

The consultation, which closed in January, received 191 responses from a mix of councils, charities, housing associations and individuals.

An overwhelming 86% of responders agreed that victims of domestic abuse living in refuges and other forms of safe temporary accommodation should be exempt from any residency requirement.

Asked how local authorities who currently apply a residency or local connection test as part of their qualification criteria take account of the needs of those living in refuges, most respondents said they already exempt victims of domestic abuse.

The consultation also sought views on the advantages and disadvantages of applying the ‘medical and welfare’ and the ‘homelessness’ reasonable preference categories to victims of domestic abuse living in refuges. Respondents agreed that there could be a number of advantages to the proposal, including increased throughput for refuges and reduced waiting times for applicants.

Many local authorities said they already apply the ‘medical and welfare’ reasonable preference category to address issues of domestic abuse.

The MHCLG’s full consultation summary can be read here.

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