With the Domestic Abuse Bill now law, MHCLG is to continue its review of how domestic abuse services are locally commissioned and funded across England.
The review is referenced is final version of the Bill published yesterday (Jan 21), as is the Whole Housing Partnership Project funded by MHCLG as a pilot partnership in London and Cambridgeshire to provide individual housing support to a diverse range of victims of domestic abuse and their children.
MHCLG says it will “continue to work closely” with sector partners, drawing on their data, expertise and knowledge, as it undertakes work to develop future, sustainable delivery options for support elements of accommodation-based services for domestic abuse across England.
Campaigners say the Bill does not go far enough to protect victims or tackle the problem because it doesn’t deliver enough money to cover cuts that have decimated related service.
The landmark bill introduces the first ever statutory government definition of domestic abuse to include economic abuse and controlling and manipulative abuse that isn’t physical.
In September and October 2018, MHCLG held a series of Domestic Abuse Service events across the country with councils, the LGA, and key domestic abuse sector partners.
MHCLG also sought views from PCCs, other organisations which support victims and groups which support victim with protected characteristics.
These were billed as an opportunity to listen and draw on experience and expertise and gather intelligence on what works well and where challenges and barriers prevent victims and their children to accessing the right support at the time of need.
The review work combines the manifesto and Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy commitments to examine funding for safe accommodation, including refuges, and the locally led approach to commissioning and delivering these services
This has been informed by an independent audit of provision of domestic abuse services across England, to measure the amount and nature of domestic abuse service provision and how it is delivered by local authorities in the context of MHCLG’s Priorities for Domestic Abuse Services.
The ‘Whole Housing’ pilot includes all type of housing from private housing through to social housing and refuges and is intended to ensure the full range of housing-related professionals will be able to recognise domestic abuse and intervene appropriately at an earlier stage – with provision for better engagement with landlord professional bodies and training for their members.
In addition, good practice will be available for landlords in order to avoid eviction and to provide early support to domestic abuse victims.
Recent figures showed 60% of domestic violence victims are unable to be housed, most commonly due to lack of space, with council spending on refuges cut from £31.2m in 2010 to £23.9m in 2017.