Refuge charity Wearside Women In Need welcomes Government’s £20million aid to help domestic abuse victims

Claire Phillipson of Wearside Women in Need

Claire Phillipson of Wearside Women in Need

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A charity worker is hoping victims of domestic abuse in Sunderland will benefit from Government cash.

The Government has announced that women’s refuges are to receive a £20million boost as the first portion of funding announced last year is released this week.

Only local authorities can apply for it

Claire Phillipson

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said local authorities will be able to bid for a share of the fund, which will be used to create more refuges and other accommodation for women fleeing domestic violence.

It is the first wave of the £40million dedicated to support domestic abuse victims announced in the 2015 Spending Review.

Claire Phillipson, director of Wearside Women In Need, said she delighted the Government is taking the problem of domestic violence so seriously and are prepared to plough these funds into it.

She said she would love to see Wearside Women In Need benefit from the funding - and called on Sunderland City Council to bid for a share of the cash.

Claire said: “This is good news provided Sunderland City Council bids for the funding and uses it to support the existing services in the city.

“When I first heard about this Government funding I got excited, but when I read the terms I realised that only local authorities can apply for it.”

She said she would have loved for her organisation to be able to apply for cash.

Mr Javid said: “Domestic abuse knows no barriers. It can happen to anyone of us, at any time.

“Our £20million fund is designed to increase refuge spaces and ensure that no victim is ever turned away from the essential support they need.”

The Government is also publishing its new priorities for domestic abuse services, setting out how councils should respond to violence “in a collaborative and effective way”, and the funding will only be available for collaborative work.

Communities minister Lord Bourne said: “We are determined to support victims of domestic abuse. That’s why our £20million fund will ensure that local authorities can work with charities to help those who really need it.”

This new fund will be used to increase refuge spaces and other accommodation for women fleeing domestic violence. From ensuring that victims have somewhere safe to live and recover, to providing education, employment and life skills training, the fund will support a range of services to help victims rebuild their lives.

This latest funding is part of the £80million Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Strategy, which sets out that prevention, not crisis response, should be the norm.