Brighton and Hove to receive £100k to help victims of domestic abuse

Posted On 25 Feb 2020 at 11:28 am

The government has allocated almost £100,000 to Brighton and Hove City Council to help victims of domestic abuse.

The money will be used to fund refuges to help keep victims of domestic abuse and their children safe, recover from the trauma and be rehoused where needed.

The government said: “This funding is part of a £16.6 million package to support 75 projects across England that work with victims of domestic abuse and their children to keep them safe, including those in Brighton and Hove.

“The funding will be shared between councils to fund domestic abuse refuge services, helping up to 43,000 survivors have access to the help they need as they move towards a safe future, free from domestic abuse.

“This is part of a wider drive by the Conservative government to bolster protection for survivors of domestic abuse, including the landmark Domestic Abuse Bill, which is due to be reintroduced in Parliament shortly.

It delivers on promises made in the 2019 Conservative Party manifesto to increase support for refuges and community support for victims of rape and sexual abuse.”

Steve Bell, the Conservative group leader on the council, welcomed the funding.

Councillor Bell said: “I’m delighted our city will receive nearly £100,000 in new funding for vital refuge services for survivors of domestic abuse.

“And I’m looking forward to working with the administration in the city to ensure the money gets to where it needs to be – on the front line helping victims to rebuild their lives.

“The Conservatives are determined to ensure that victims of domestic abuse are protected and will strengthen their rights further via the Domestic Violence Bill in Parliament – which will have my wholehearted support.”

The bill will, among other things, ban abusers from cross-examining their victims in the family courts.

This is a change in the law that the Labour MP for Hove, Peter Kyle, has campaigned for since he was first elected.

The government said: “It is estimated that there are 11,000 cases each year which may be affected by this new provision.”

Councillor Steve Bell

The government’s Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary, Robert Jenrick, said: “Domestic abuse destroys lives and leaves victims living in fear in their own homes – the place where they should feel most safe and secure.

“No victim of domestic abuse should have to struggle to get the right support or wait months for help that they need.

“This new funding will help local areas better protect victims and their children and provide essential life-saving services, delivering the urgent support that they need to rebuild their lives.”

One of the areas facing a cut in the council’s budget was the £1.85 million service for reducing violence against women and girls.

The council had hoped to improve the service through a “redesign” which would also save £35,000.

It said that the “opportunity for additional funding may be available from the third sector commissioning process” – although one of the best-known local groups, Rise, missed out on the recent three-year award of grants for charities and community organisations.

Councillor Hannah Clare

Green councillor Hannah Clare asked questions about the proposed cuts at a town hall meeting before Christmas but officials were unable to provide answers at the time.

Labour’s finance lead, Councillor Daniel Yates, said last week that the council would no longer push ahead with the planned cut.

He said that his party had been working with the other parties to improve the 2020-21 budget which is due to be decided by the full council on Thursday (27 February).

The Greens also want another proposed cut to be reversed on Thursday.

The budget papers suggest that the council should spend £75,000 less on a project to work with the perpetrators of domestic violence and abuse to help them change their behaviour.

Peter Kyle

One of the programmes is known as Chance to Change and works with dozens of abusers in groups.

The council is due to recommission some services this year and wants the perpetrators of abuse to spend more time in one-to-one sessions.

The Greens want the existing budget to continue to be funded – along with an extra £52,000 to be allocated to support services for women and girls to reflect rising demand.

Draft budget papers in December showed that the specialist assessment and domestic violence service budget was about £70,000 underspent, partly as a result of staff turnover.

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