Domestic abuse victims and their children living in Swindon and Wiltshire will be able to receive more support thanks to £1.3milion of extra government funding.
The funding will help victims and their children access life-saving support including advocacy, counselling and therapy in safe locations such as refuges or specialist safe accommodation, where victims and their children can go to get away from their abusers.
Swindon and Wiltshire will benefit from £1.2million of the £125million total funding, with Swindon securing £430,000.
Under a new duty, which was a key Conservative manifesto commitment at the last election, councils will be required to provide support to domestic abuse victims and their children within safe accommodation services, where needs have been identified.
It will come into force later this year with the passage of the landmark Domestic Abuse Bill, with funding announced in advance so local authorities know how much they will receive for these vital services and can begin to plan. Both Swindon MPs contributed to the Domestic Abuse Bill, Robert as Secretary of State for Justice and Justin as Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work.
This funding is part of a wider package of support for victims of rape and domestic abuse, with a £40million funding boost for victim support services announced on 1 February 2021.
It builds on the unprecedented £76million pledged in May 2020 to ensure vital services including refuges, helplines and counselling remain accessible throughout the pandemic.
In January 2021 the government also launched the ‘Ask for ANI’ codeword scheme, which provides victims of domestic abuse access to immediate help from the police or other support services from their local pharmacy.
North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson and South Swindon MP Robert Buckland said: “Having worked closely with Swindon Domestic Abuse Support Service, we have seen the trauma that domestic violence causes.
It is only right victims of abuse have access to the support which will help them rebuild their lives. This includes providing support in safe accommodation and giving councils additional funding to deliver essential services that will help victims and their children.
This latest announcement is part of a long-term strategy to provide broader support for domestic abuse victims, both in safe accommodation like refuges and in their homes.”