One of the many concerns that have arisen during the pandemic and especially during the lockdowns has been that of domestic abuse. Not only is there greater opportunity for it to happen, everyone is generally having more stress which can be a factor, although it is never an excuse - nothing is.
These concerns have been recognised at all levels of government, from national to local, as well as by our Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne.
The government has taken action to help the most vulnerable in society during the pandemic, with an unprecedented £76 million pledged in last May to ensure vital services.
In West Sussex, the Police and Crime Commissioner has received funds from the Ministry of Justice to commission victim services and work with West Sussex County Council to agree how the funds are best used.
Additionally, I am pleased to see that the Government has allocated £125 million to councils to support domestic abuse victims and their children. The funding will help ensure victims and their children who need it are able to access life-saving support such as therapy, advocacy and counselling in safe accommodation.
The money will fund a new duty on councils to ensure victims and their children are able to access life-saving support in safe accommodation – a key part of the government’s landmark Domestic Abuse Bill.
The duty will come into effect later this year, subject to the Domestic Abuse Bill becoming law. This is part of a wider package of support for victims of rape and domestic abuse, with a £40 million funding boost for victim support services announced last week.
We are also going to see £20.7m from the government for local, community-based sexual violence and domestic abuse services, helping to reduce the amount of time survivors wait for support. I’m also pleased to see that male specific services will see a 60% funding increase following a significant increase in demand for support from men and boys. Domestic abuse is a terrible crime and tackling the issue remains a priority for all of us at every level of government.
Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of Crawley Borough Council Conservative Group
17th February 2021