Extra funding to support domestic abuse victims with complex needs

Council bosses are to spend more money on specialist help for people who have suffered domestic violence or abuse and who have “multiple complex needs”.

Many of those people are women with drink and drug problems and poor mental health. They are often homeless or repeat offenders who shoplift or steal in other ways to pay for drugs.

The specialist help is expected to cost about £27,000, with some of the money coming from a government grant and the rest from budget savings at Brighton and Hove City Council.

A report to councillors said that the government grant was part of an allocation of £608,000 to the council for the current 2022-23 financial year to support survivors of domestic abuse.

The new duty to support survivors of domestic abuse and their children in a safe place came in last October when the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 became law.

Councillors agreed last night (Thursday 16 June) that the extra £27,000 should help those with multiple complex needs because this was where the need was greatest.

A report to members of the council’s Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture Committee cited the Pan-Sussex Strategy for Domestic Abuse Accommodation and Support 2021 to 2024.

Conservative councillor Dee Simson told the committee that she was pleased to see the money but wondered if there were any other gaps in services.

The committee, which met at Hove Town Hall, was told that the Pan-Sussex review found that Brighton and Hove had few gaps.

And funding for support for those with multiple complex needs covered what shortfalls there were.

The strategy document did indicate, however, that Brighton and Hove had too few refuge places and could do with almost a dozen more.

About £260,000 of the £608,000 “new burdens” funding from the government is expected to go to the Brighton domestic abuse charity RISE.

There was an outcry last year when RISE missed out on key contracts worth £5 million over seven years to support victims of domestic violence and abuse in Brighton and Hove.

After the meeting yesterday, officials are due to start the search for specialist providers for a number of contracts to be funded by the £608,000 “new burdens” grant.

These would support, among others, young people using violence in personal relationships who are also at risk of losing their accommodation, people who are black, Asian or from an ethnic minority and people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans.

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