Funding of £20m to support domestic abuse victims

File photo of abused woman phoning helpline. Image copyright Thinkstock

A £20m fund to support domestic abuse victims is being launched by the government later.

The money will help to provide accommodation, employment and skills training for women fleeing violence.

Local authorities will be able to bid for a share of the money, which is the first part of an overall £40m investment package.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said the boost will mean "no victim is turned away" from essential support.

As part of the plans, new guidelines will be published which set out how local authorities should respond to domestic abuse.

The government said this will focus on "putting the victim first, providing flexible services that meet their needs, collaborating with other councils to open up services to victims from outside the local area and responding to the needs of diverse groups".

It would also require setting up "accountable local leadership" for services and a system of "independent scrutiny".

Image copyright PA
Image caption The communities secretary's announcement forms part of a £40m investment package

In a statement announcing the plans, Mr Javid said: "Domestic abuse can happen to anyone, at any time, which is why our £20m fund is designed to ensure no victim is turned away from the essential support they need.

"It will address the needs of diverse and isolated communities and boost refuge spaces, as part of a country that works for everyone and not just the privileged few".

As well as being the first wave of £40m in support for domestic abuse victims outlined in the 2015 Spending Review, the money is also part of the government's wider £80m Violence Against Women and Girls strategy.

Funding will only be available for local areas which are collaborating with other councils and external domestic violence services, the government's launch document states, because "domestic abuse cannot be addressed by one agency alone".

The fund is open to applications from local authorities until 17:00 GMT on 2 December.

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