Government announces a £3.2 million funding boost to help victims of domestic abuse.
In its recent budget the government has announced measures which it claims underlines its commitment to support the victims of domestic violence and abuse through a £3.2 million fund to boost the provision of services including refuges.
Proposals have been invited from local partnerships that demonstrate how the needs of victims could be met in innovative ways, working through collaboration and helping to address any gaps in the delivery of services in the short term. This announcement builds on the £10 million funding for refuges announced in March 2015.
Also announced was a review of the full range of services currently available to victims of domestic abuse. Its findings will feed into the Spending Review and planning a strategy on violence against women and girls to ensure that victims and their families have access to the support and services they need to keep safe.
Communities Minister Baroness Williams is quoted as saying:
‘This government is absolutely committed to support the victims of domestic violence and abuse. And today’s funding announced in the budget will help keep victims, their children and anyone facing the threat of domestic violence and abuse safe.
Over the last 2 months I have met with many people working in the sector and listened to those that have suffered abuse. 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.’
Funds announced in the budget also include £131,000 for additional workers for UK Refuges Online. UK Refuges Online is a UK-wide database of domestic violence services that enables those working with victims of domestic violence to identify appropriate services and potential refuge vacancies around the country so that victims can get the help they need as quickly as possible.
The Minister also said that 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. These include:
● £40 million for Violence Against Women and Girls support services and specialist helplines;
● new laws and powers – including a new domestic abuse offence to capture coercive and controlling behaviour, the criminalisation of forced marriage and the introduction of new stalking laws; and
● the national roll-out of domestic violence protection orders and the domestic violence disclosure scheme.
It should be borne in mind that an announcement, even in a budget, of additional funding, does not necessarily mean that it will be converted into available resources. We shall have to see what happens but the early signs are encouraging