Merseyside councils have been successful in a bid to the Government’s Domestic Abuse Fund, providing further support to domestic abuse survivors.
Knowsley Council developed the bid of behalf of Knowsley, Liverpool, St Helens, Sefton and Wirral local authorities, working in partnership with YMCA Liverpool who will manage the programme, targeting housing and accommodation for those who have experienced domestic abuse, on behalf of the five local authorities.
Just over £456,000 has been awarded to be used for urgent housing for victims and their families fleeing domestic abuse. In addition to providing accommodation, the funding will also be used to ensure accommodation is security assessed and target hardening measures introduced if required, providing practical and emotional support for victims of domestic abuse and their wider families, and ensuring children are helped with tailored support around what they have witnesses / experienced.
The funding will be used to complement the services already provided through refuge (emergency accommodation), but demand far exceeds current provision across the five local authority areas. It will also ensure there is also accommodation and support available for men as well as women, BME groups and those with complex needs.
The new arrangements will allow greater choice for families who do not want to be placed in refuge, whilst also freeing up refuge spaces so that more beds are available for the highest risk victims when they are needed.
The project will ultimately provide a stepping stone to survivors to move on and rebuild their lives with a range of support provided around accommodation, accessing education, employment and skills.
The funding will help to support an additional 160 long-term units across the five local authority areas in a year as well as funding a Housing Officer post who can identify and source accommodation to an individual / family’s needs.
Cllr Shelley Powell, Knowsley Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods, said “This funding will significantly assist those residents who are fleeing domestic abuse and need accommodation, providing them with the help they need, when they need it. We know the devastation domestic abuse has in our communities – on victims, their children and their wider family and friends. This funding will help to provide specialist accommodation to provide victims with a lifeline to escape and turn their lives around and away from domestic abuse.