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.

Shadowed Couple Domestic Violence PhoteLater 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 can mean the difference between life and death for some victims of domestic abuse, and today’s £10 million funding will help councils maintain this vital national network and ensure support is provided wherever it is needed.

“This government has made changes to safeguard vulnerable victims and today is another example of our commitment to ensuring we have a strong safety net for anyone who finds themselves in a situation so fearful they are forced to flee their home.”

Minister for Women and Equalities Nicky Morgan said: “The government is absolutely committed to ending violence against women and girls. We know that there is more to be done and we are determined to relentlessly drive a culture change to support victims and survivors.

“I want women and girls to know that if they ever suffer the horrific ordeal of domestic violence and need a safe place to stay there is always one available, and that they will be offered the expert advice and support they need to rebuild their lives.

“This additional funding will provide victims with immediate support and ensure they can feel safe and secure.”

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