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Government promises £184m to help DA victims during pandemic

The Westminster government is giving an extra £184m to enable councils to house domestic abuse victims and to boost support organisations’ work in the field.

The lion’s share of the funds, £125m, will go to local authorities in England and Wales to ensure survivors and their children have safe accommodation after fleeing abuse. Councils are being given the duty to house them under the Domestic Abuse Bill, which is going through Parliament.

The funding will also ensure victims and their children can access therapy, advocacy and counselling in safe accommodation if required, the ministry of housing, communities and local government said.

Minister for rough sleeping and housing Eddie Hughes added: “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.”

The other £40m is being allocated to support organisations for domestic abuse and rape survivors so they can recruit more staff, keep helplines open for longer and adapt to remote counselling.

Two-fifths of those funds (£16m) is being set aside for recruitment of more independent domestic abuse and sexual violence advisers. They will provide emotional and practical support for victims, while guiding them through the criminal justice process.

Also, male-specific services will see a 60% funding increase following a significant increase in demand for support from men and boys, the justice ministry said.

Neil Henderson, chairman and co-founder of the Male Survivors Partnership, said: “For those men, women and children living with the impacts of sexual and domestic violence, the impact of Covid has been devastating and will be long-lasting. This timely increase in funding will enable all specialist agencies to better respond to the needs of victims and survivors.”

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