News – Home Office – New duties for councils to provide support in safe accommodation for domestic abuse victims

  • Government publishes guidance setting out how councils should support victims of domestic abuse and their children
  • New regulations to help ensure victims and their children are supported in the right accommodation
  • Bringing into force changes set out in the Domestic Abuse Act

Domestic abuse victims who need to escape home will be provided with better support in safe accommodation from today (1 October 2021).

New regulations and guidance published today set out the level of support councils are required to provide.

These include:

  • A clear expectation that expert specialist support is provided to victims in safe accommodation that best supports their needs, whether in refuges or other safe housing
  • Guidance that states B&Bs or mixed homeless hostels are not the right place for victims to recover from abuse.
  • Councils will support to victims to stay in their own homes, if the perpetrator has left and the home can be made safe

Councils have already benefited from £125 million to start to meet their duties. Support for victims will include counselling for adults and children, advocacy with services such as GPs, social workers and welfare benefits, support with rehousing, and advice on staying safe. Some victims will need more specialist support, for example interpreters, immigration advice, or mental ill health, drug or alcohol support.

Minister for rough sleeping and housing Eddie Hughes MP said:

Domestic abuse is a horrendous crime and specialist support from experienced domestic abuse services is key if victims and their families are going to get the help they need to rebuild their lives.

This is an important step in making sure victims up and down the country who need a place of safety receive the level of care they deserve.

Councils will have to work with partners such as police and local domestic abuse charities and publish strategies on how they will provide support to victims who need safe accommodation by January 2022.

A National Expert Steering Group led by the minister with responsibility for homelessness and domestic abuse and the Domestic Abuse Commissioner will monitor the progress of authorities in implementing these changes.

See the full guidance and consultation response.

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