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More funding to support victims of domestic abuse

Hampshire County Council has awarded over £1.5million of funding to projects that aim to ensure more families escaping domestic abuse have a safe place to go.

Part of the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ ‘New Burdens Fund’, the support enables the County Council to provide more help to victims of domestic abuse and their children, in safe accommodation.

Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Adult Services and Public Health, Councillor Liz Fairhurst, said: “For victims of domestic violence, home is not the safe place it should be. By continuing to invest in domestic abuse services such as safe accommodation, we can provide secure locations as quickly as possible where victims can escape abuse and begin to rebuild their lives.”

The funding will cover:

  • A grant of over £200,000 for training housing staff to help them identify domestic abuse victims and their needs.

  • Extra funding to ensure that Stop Domestic Abuse can provide safe accommodation for more victims. This will make it possible for more people to access support, including victims with disabilities and male victims with children. Stop Domestic Abuse is commissioned by the County Council to deliver a range of services to those affected by domestic abuse and works closely with victims, the police and many other organisations.

  • More support for mental health and substance misuse issues for the victims of domestic abuse and for advocates in hospitals who identify and support domestic abuse victims.

  • More ‘target hardening’ homes – victims are referred to this service which helps make homes safer and more secure, so perpetrators cannot gain access.

Councillor Fairhurst added: “Domestic abuse is often hidden and is vastly under-reported. Because of this, the true prevalence can only be estimated. However, it is predicted that around 38,000 women, 17,000 men and 40,000 children in Hampshire are likely to have been affected by domestic abuse in the last year alone. It is an issue which has huge personal, social and economic costs and consequences.”

Domestic abuse cases increased during the pandemic with many more people not feeling safe in their own home. There has also been an increase in domestic abuse interventions, with the national domestic abuse helpline reporting a 66% rise in calls and a 950% increase in visits to the website, compared with pre-COVID-19.

Stop Domestic Abuse saw the number of referrals into its service increase by a third in 2020, compared with the year before. The complexity of cases also increased during 2020 meaning that victims needed more services and stayed in the service for longer.

Councillor Fairhurst continued: “Domestic abuse can affect anyone regardless of their age, gender, race, religion, class, sexual orientation and marital status. No-one should have to live in fear. With more staff training, service investment and funding for accommodation, we can help ensure that victims have the help they need to remove themselves from harm.”

If you are in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police. If you can’t speak and are calling on a mobile press 55 to have your call transferred to the police. Find out  how to call the police when you can’t speak.

For free, confidential advice, 24 hours a day contact a domestic abuse helpline.

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