Government launches £10 million domestic violence fund to support women’s refuges

The government has announced a £10 million fund to support women’s refuges in 100 areas across England. Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has also written to England’s 326 councils to remind them of their legal duty to house women and children who have been forced to flee their homes for fear of violence and abuse. Latest figures published by the Crown Prosecution Service show the conviction rate for domestic violence is at its highest ever level, with three quarters (74.6%) of all cases reaching successful outcomes. Police referrals to the Crown Prosecution Service for charging decisions have also reached their highest ever levels, and the volume of prosecutions and convictions have both risen by over 10% in the last year. Mr Pickles said with victims of domestic violence making an average 32 attempts to leave before they make their final escape, councils must do everything in their power to ensure there is nothing to prevent a woman from taking the vital steps to safety. The £10 million fund will be available over this year and next, and builds on steps taken by this government to end domestic violence, support victims and ensure offenders are prosecuted. These include: a £40 million fund for local support services and specialist helplines; new laws and powers – including the criminalisation of forced marriage; the introduction of new stalking laws; the national roll-out of Domestic Violence Protection Orders and the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme. Later this week the government will announce details of local community groups who have received grants to help end the harmful practice of female genital mutilation. Eric Pickles said: “Specialist refuges...