- East Herts Council to receive £34,089 and Hertfordshire County Council to receive £2,013,659 to help fund a new duty to ensure victims and their children are able to access life-saving support in safe accommodation.
- A total of £125 million has been allocated to councils across England to support domestic abuse victims and their children.
- This new funding is part of the Conservative Government’s landmark Domestic Abuse Bill and package of comprehensive support for victims.
Julie Marson, MP for Hertford and Stortford, has welcomed the announcement that East Herts District Council and Hertfordshire County Council will receive £34,089 and £2,013,659 respectively from the Government to provide additional support for victims of domestic abuse and their children from April 2021.
The extra funding 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.
Under the duty, which was a key Conservative manifesto commitment at the last election, councils 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 the 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.
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, the 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 councils, charities, and other partners to ensure they get the support they need.
Commenting, Julie said:
“Domestic abuse is a devastating crime that ruins lives, which is why the Government’s commitment to empowering and protecting victims is so important.
“The two financial packages announced today will ensure that anyone who needs to access safe accommodation and the support services they need to recover and rebuild their lives will be able to do so, and is part of a wider package of support we have put in place for victims of rape and domestic abuse.
“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.”
Furthering her work on domestic abuse, Julie was a member of the public bill committee for the Domestic Abuse Bill in 2020. While serving on the committee, she played a part in passing an amendment to recognise children as potential victims of domestic abuse. She is also a trustee of Future Living, a domestic abuse charity based in Hertford.
Julie has pledged to continue working on the issue of domestic abuse throughout this Parliament.