WARRINGTON Borough Council is to receive a share of a £125 million national pot to fund a new duty to support victims of domestic abuse.
Royal Assent has been given to a new Domestic Abuse Bill which means councils across England will have a legal duty to provide what could be life-saving support such as therapy, advocacy and counselling in safe accommodation for victims of domestic abuse and their children.
The new duty will include commissioning additional vital support services for victims and improving links between existing local services.
People who are homeless as a result of domestic abuse will also priority for accommodation secured by the council, helping to ensure victims do not remain with their abuser for fear of not having a roof over their head.
Professor Steven Broomhead the council’s chief executive, said: “Domestic abuse is a heinous crime and it is vital that victims and their children are given the support they need to recover and rebuild their lives.
“Domestic abuse is everyone’s business and what is needed now, more than ever, is to ensure anyone experiencing domestic abuse is aware of the support available.
“The new duty will ensure that no one is turned away from life-saving support.”
The new Act is expected to formally come into effect this summer and will provide protection for victims, and strengthen measures to tackle perpetrators, including:
• A lifetime social tenancy if they need to flee their current home to escape abuse and they will be granted a new council tenancy – ensuring they have a safe and stable home to rebuild their lives.
• Introducing for the first time an all-purpose legal definition of domestic abuse which includes emotional, coercive or controlling, and economic abuse as well as physical abuse.
• Establishing in law the office of Domestic Abuse Commissioner and setting out the Commissioner’s functions and powers.
• Banning perpetrators of abuse from cross-examining their victims in person in the civil and family courts in England and Wales.
For more information visit gov.uk
Victims of domestic abuse should contact Refuge – Warrington Independent Domestic Violence Abuse (IDVA) service for advice, emotional and practical support for women, men and young people on 01925 243359.