Hopes that new funding will be a “lifeline” for victims of domestic abuse

Ministers this month announced a £20million grant to bolster domestic violence services around the UK.

The funding from the Department for Communities and Local Government is the first part of a new financial package to support those who have suffered abuse.

The cash injection was first outlined in last year’s Spending Review and the money will start to be made available from next year.

Local authorities can bid for a share of the funding, which will be used to ensure the future of existing facilities and help in the creation of new accommodation.

Securing support will be dependent on councils giving an undertaking that they will be willing to provide assistance to victims from outside their local area.

The announcement of additional funding follows concerns that the domestic violence support network around the country had been pared back or, in some cases, stopped altogether.

Many non-statutory services have been reduced and the strain on budgets pushed many authorities into implementing a “local connection” policy, whereby only victims from the nearby area were eligible for support.

Domestic violence charity Refuge said that the grant would be “a lifeline” for those who needed protection.

Chief executive Sandra Horley said: “Refuges are often the only escape route for women and children in fear of losing their lives.

“Refuges provide [them] with much needed safety, expert support and the building blocks they need to begin a new life, free from fear.”

Domestic violence can be a factor in the breakdown of a couple’s relationship and it is common knowledge that reports increase over the Christmas period.

Peter Martin, OGR Stock Denton’s head of family law, said: “People sometimes make the assumption that domestic violence only affects small sections of the population, whereas unfortunately it is a problem which can cut across all strata of society.

“In my experience the victims are often embarrassed about telling their solicitor about the difficulties they have experienced. This can be because they wrongly feel they are to blame for what has occurred.

“It is important to bear in mind that it is only if we are told that we can provide victims with the necessary help and advice.”

For further information about this update then please contact Peter Martin, head of our family law team, on 020 8349 0321 or by email.

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