Devon and Somerset councils to help abuse victims with government funding
Domestic Abuse

Devon and Somerset councils to help abuse victims with government funding

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James Harbottle
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Devon and Somerset councils to help abuse victims with government funding

On the 15th of February the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities announced a package of extra support for domestic abuse victims and their children, aimed at helping them “to rebuild their lives in a safe environment”.

The package comprises a further £125 million, which is to be handed to councils across England to make sure safe accommodation spaces, such as refuges and shelters, can provide victims with vital support services including healthcare, social workers and benefits.

Interpreters, immigration advice, drug or alcohol support and other specialist services will also be funded and made available, so that anyone who flees their home gets the help they need.

The funding will be issued as an “un-ring-fenced” grant to local councils, who will then be responsible for making decisions on how the funding is spent to benefit those in need.

The announcement comes in the wake of the passing of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, which placed a duty on local authorities in England toprovidesupport to victims of domestic abuse and their children in refuges and other safeaccommodation, amongst other important provisions.

The Government says that since 2014 more than £330 million has been invested to provide support for domestic abuse victims in safe accommodation, with refuge bed spaces increasing by more than 20% in the past 12 years. On top of this, £4 million is being invested in the Respite Rooms programme, which supports vulnerable rough sleepers impacted by domestic abuse.

Devon and Somerset councils benefitting Domestic Abuse Bill

Councils in Devon are to receive funding from the package.

Devon County Council is to receive the sum of £1,425,843, and Somerset County Council will receive £1,044,423.

In addition, smaller grants are to go directly to unitary authorities, district and borough councils, to complement this support.

These smaller grants include £591,456 for Plymouth, £379,351 for North Somerset, £312,242 for Bath and North East Somerset, £309,395 for Torbay, £33,267 for Exeter, £32,665 for North Devon, £32,482 for Mid Devon, £32,133 for Torridge, £32,110 for West Devon, £32,064 for Somerset West and Taunton, and £31,985 for East Devon.


Support welcomed

Commenting upon the announcement, Nicole Jacobs, the Domestic Abuse Commissioner for England and Wales said:

“For victims and survivors of domestic abuse, home is often the most dangerous place. I welcome the confirmation of £125 million to enable local authorities in England to meet their duties to provide support in safe accommodation for victims and survivors of domestic abuse. The right support in a safe environment is integral to rebuilding your life after fleeing domestic abuse and this duty will be transformative in tackling the postcode lottery of accommodation-based support for victims and survivors.”

And Selaine Saxby, the MP for North Devon, which includes the town of Barnstaple, commented on her Facebook page:

“I welcome the Government’s decision to give councils £125 million to provide vital support services for domestic abuse victims.

“Domestic abuse is a horrific crime, and we must do everything we can to help victims recover and rebuild their divorce


“We have some fantastic local services in North Devon like North Devon Against Domestic Abuse – NDADA, and I am very pleased the Government is giving additional funding to Devon County Council to provide better services such as healthcare, social workers and benefits.”

The announcement was also welcomed by Mel Stride, MP for Central Devon, who said:

“The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 was a landmark piece of legislation that widened the legal definition of domestic abuse to include emotional, controlling or economic abuse, strengthened victims’ rights, and placed a duty on local authorities to provide greater local support to domestic abuse victims and their families. It is only right that councils are given more funding to provide these services and help more people, in extraordinary difficult circumstances, rebuild their lives.”


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