Domestic abuse victims and their children living in both the City of London and Westminster will be able to receive more support thanks to extra Government funding.
The extra money will help victims and their children access life-saving support in safe accommodation, including advocacy, counselling, and therapy in safe locations such as refuges or specialist safe accommodation, where victims and their children can go to get away from their abusers.
In total, councils across England will receive £125 million. Locally, the City of London Corporation will receive £48,589 and Westminster City Council will receive £47,970.
Under a new duty, local authorities will be required to provide support to domestic abuse victims and their children within safe accommodation services, where needs have been identified.
It will come into force later this year with the passage of a landmark Domestic Abuse Bill, with funding announced in advance so local authorities know how much they will receive for these vital services and can begin to plan. Children will be able to access the support following an amendment to the Domestic Abuse Bill secured by Nickie Aiken, Member of Parliament for the Cities of London & Westminster.
This funding is part of a wider package of support for victims of rape and domestic abuse, with a £40 million funding boost for victim support services announced on 1 February 2021, building on the unprecedented £76 million pledged in May 2020 to ensure vital services including refuges, helplines and counselling remain accessible throughout the pandemic.
In January 2021, t\he Government also launched the ‘Ask for ANI’ codeword scheme, which provides victims of domestic abuse access to immediate help from the police or other support services from their local pharmacy.
The Government is determined to support vulnerable people throughout the pandemic, and is working closely with local authorities, charities and other partners to ensure they get the support they need.
Commenting, Member of Parliament for the Cities of London & Westminster Nickie Aiken said:
“Domestic abuse is a devastating crime that ruins lives. Supporting, empowering and protecting victims from harm is so important. Having sat on Domestic Abuse Bill Committee and secured an amendment to ensure children are included in definition of a victim, I know how vital it is to ensure survivors & their children can move to safe accommodation & begin to rebuild their lives.
“The funding and amendment will ensure that all victims that require safe accommodation and support services to recover and rebuild their lives will have access to it.
“In taking another big step towards helping break the cycle of domestic abuse and protecting some of the most vulnerable in our society, we are transforming our response to victims and will help them move forward with their lives.”
Also commenting, Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing Eddie Hughes said:
“Domestic abuse is a heinous crime which threatens the lives of victims in their own homes where they should feel safe. So it’s right that we’re giving victims support in safe accommodation and providing councils with money to deliver essential services that will help them and their children rebuild their lives.
“This is part of a long-term strategy to provide broader support for domestic abuse victims both in safe accommodation like refuges and in their homes.”