New duties for councils to support domestic abuse victims

The government has set out new regulations for the level of support councils are required to provide for victims of domestic abuse.

Councils are expected to provide expert specialist support to victims in safe accommodation that best supports their needs, whether in refuges or other safe housing.

The guidance states that B&Bs or mixed homeless hostels are not the right place for victims of domestic abuse and adds that councils should support victims to stay in their own homes if the perpetrator has left and the home can be made safe.

Councils have received £125m to begin to meet their duties, providing counselling, advocacy services, social workers and welfare benefits, support with rehousing and advice on staying safe.

The new guidance brings into force changes set out in the Domestic Abuse Act, helping to ensure victims and their children are supported in the right accommodation.

Minister for rough sleeping and housing, Eddie Hughes MP, said: ‘Domestic abuse is a horrendous crime and specialist support from experienced domestic abuse services is key if victims and their families are going to get the help they need to rebuild their lives.

‘This is an important step in making sure victims up and down the country who need a place of safety receive the level of care they deserve.’

Councils will have to work with partners including police and local domestic abuse charities and publish strategies on how they will provide support to victims who need safe accommodation by January 2022.

A national steering group led by the minister with responsibility for homelessness and domestic abuse and the Domestic Abuse Commissioner will monitor the progress of authorities in implementing the changes.

In related news, the Mayor of London has announced additional funding to boost programme to tag knife crime and domestic abuse offenders with a GPS tracking device on release from prison.

Photo Credit – Eric Ward


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