More than 2,200 new beds will be opened to domestic abuse victims through a £20 million government investment.
Polly Neate: Funding will make
a 'huge difference'
Seventy-six projects across the country will receive a share of the funding as they aim to provide better support through expanding refuges and other specialist accommodation.
The Department for Communities and Local Government estimates that the money will benefit more than 19,000 victims and will improve their access to education, jobs and life skills training.
The announcement comes after Communities Secretary Sajid Javid published priorities for local areas to collaborate in their responses to domestic abuse.
Mr Javid said: “Domestic abuse is a devastating crime that all too often remains hidden. That’s why we’re determined that no victim will be turned away from the help they need, at the time they need it.
“This significant investment shows our clear commitment to supporting and strengthening a resilient network of refuge services across the country, with further specialist support to help victims go on to rebuild their lives.”
More than one in six domestic abuse refuges were forced to close between 2010 and 2014.
Figures from Women’s Aid show that in September last year, 67 per cent of refuges in England and 69 per cent in Wales were facing closure due to changes to the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) cap.
Although refuges were exempted from this change, the Government is consulting on a new funding model that would reapply the LHA cap.
Women’s Aid warned that this could render the new £20 million investment “meaningless”.
Chief Executive Polly Neate has now called for a long-term solution to ensure refuges are permanently exempted from the cap.
Ms Neate said: “The £20 million will make a huge difference to the projects that won funding – but without a long-term funding solution to secure a lasting future for refuges, these projects will be put at risk again.
“Many of the refuges that have been able to increase the number of beds they have, and the number of women and children they support, will be forced to close. This investment in them will have been meaningless.
“We urge the Government to be accountable to their promise in its Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy: that, by 2020, they will ensure ‘no victim is turned away from accessing critical support services delivered by refuges’.”