Peter Gibson, Member of Parliament of Darlington has spoken in Parliament on numerous occasions about the victims of domestic abuse, and has also highlighted the suffering of male victims which is often forgotten when addressing the subject of domestic abuse.
The MP for Darlington has also called for the Government to provide additional funding for domestic abuse charities such as Family Help Darlington, and worked with fellow MPs on the Women and Equalities Select Committee and Domestic Abuse Bill Committee to address key concerns to ensure victims of domestic abuse can access life-saving support.
The Government has today announced that Darlington Borough Council will receive £222,365 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 Conservative 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.
Peter Gibson, Member of Parliament for Darlington, 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 £222,365 announced today for Darlington Borough Council 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.”
Carole Clarkson, CEO of Family Help Darlington said: “We are delighted by the news today that Darlington has been included in the funding awarded by the Government to secure the future delivery of support to victims and their children in accommodation based domestic abuse services.
“We welcome the decision by Government that places a legal duty on local authorities to provide funding for accommodation-based support for survivors of domestic abuse and their children.
“This announcement hopefully shows the Government’s commitment to the long-term funding of lifesaving refuges and hope that the funding provided to local authorities will place these vital, specialist services on a secure long-term, sustainable footing. Statutory funding to support children in refuges has been overlooked for a very long time.
“We eagerly look forward to working with Darlington Borough Council to ensure that this important move in funding refuges is safe, sustainable and delivers the resources that services urgently require to support all women and children fleeing domestic abuse.
“These important measures will help us shape and develop the future of the invaluable support we are able to provide to survivors of domestic abuse and their children.
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.”