Domestic abuse support services get £3.2m funding boost

Birmingham’s support for victims of domestic abuse will benefit from more than £3.2m in Government funding, according to a report due to be discussed by Cabinet next week (12 October 2021).

Under the new Domestic Abuse Act 2021, local authorities have to ensure adults, young people and children at risk, who reside in safe accommodation, get the right support they need.

In April, the Ministry of Communities and Local Government (now the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities) awarded Birmingham City Council £3,263,007 to enable to meet this duty during 2021-22.

This one-year funding will help Birmingham’s commissioned providers ease pressure on existing services with £2,160,401 ear-marked for more staff – from helpline and family support workers to specialist therapists and children’s refuge workers.

Smaller specialist organisations will also have the opportunity to bid for grants from the remaining funding, to help address gaps in support provision arising from the needs assessment on domestic abuse that is currently being carried out.

Services working to provide domestic abuse support have seen the number of calls to their helplines rise significantly during the pandemic – Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid received over 19,200 calls to its helpline and held 1,150 webchats since 1 April 2021.

Cllr John Cotton, Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion, Community Safety and Equalities, said: “This funding will make a real difference to organisations that provide vital services and support to those suffering or at risk of domestic abuse. Being able to take on more staff means providers will be able to help even more people.

“The incidence of domestic abuse has been shocking during lockdown and unfortunately many organisations and charities are not seeing this abate, so the need for enhanced support will remain.

“This is why we are continuing to press Government for additional resources for future years, so we can sustain services for those who need them and ensure that we drive domestic abuse out of our city.”

Cabinet will be livestreamed on the council’s YouTube channel from 10am on 12 October 2021.

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