Cotswold District Council is in line to receive tens of thousands of pounds to help it provide support for domestic abuse victims and their children, figures reveal.
The money – a slice of the £125 million pot for all local authorities across England – will fund a new legal duty on councils to ensure victims can access vital services in safe accommodation, including refuges, as part of the Government’s domestic abuse bill.
Safeguarding minister Victoria Atkins said providing safe accommodation for such services, including therapy, advocacy and counselling, will support survivors to “recover and rebuild their lives”.
A breakdown released by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government reveals £33,790 will be allocated to Cotswold District Council in the next financial year.
It is one of 214 “tier 2” authorities – those which are expected to support larger “tier 1” councils with their new obligations, including creating partnership boards, which bring local services together, and assessing victims’ needs.
Initially announced during the Spending Review in November, the multi-million-pound fund for councils is a key element of the bill aimed at giving better protection to those fleeing violence.
The domestic abuse bill, which is currently before MPs, will also introduce the first legal government definition of domestic abuse, including economic abuse and controlling and manipulative non-physical behaviour.
Home Office data shows 13 per cent of all crime recorded by Gloucestershire Constabulary involved domestic abuse in the year to March 2020, with 5,316 such crimes recorded.
Of those, 1,267 involved stalking and harassment, while 291 coercive control incidents were reported.
Tracy Blackwell, head of development at domestic abuse charity Refuge, said while the funding was welcome research by Women’s Aid suggested an additional £48 million would be needed each year to meet demand.
“We hope it will go some way to ensuring local authorities can provide adequate, sustainable funding for refuges in their area. However, we know that more can be done,” she said.
“Refuge is calling for sustainable, ringfenced funding and for the government to urgently commit to the £173 million needed to increase the number of refuge spaces available, which currently falls 30% below the minimum number recommended by the Council of Europe.”
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.
“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 own homes.”