The Government has announced £76m of funding to support victims of domestic and sexual abuse after a spike in reports during the coroanvirus lockdown.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced new funding at today’s Covid-19 press conference at Downing Street and said the money would be used to “support the most vulnerable in society during the pandemic”.
Announcing that victims of domestic violence will get priority access to local housing, Mr Jenrick said: “For some in our society these measures involve sacrifices that none of us would wish anyone to bear.
“For victims of domestic abuse it means being trapped in a nightmare.
“The true evil of domestic abuse is that it leaves vulnerable people including children living in fear in the very place where they should feel most safe and secure: inside their own home.”
Mr Jenrick said the Government’s Domestic Abuse Bill, which had its second reading in Parliament last week, would create “the first ever legal definition of domestic abuse”.
He said that through the Bill, the Government would “be ensuring that the victims of domestic violence get the priority need status that they need to access to local housing services much more easily”.
He added: “This is a fully-funded commitment which will mean that no victim of domestic violence has to make the unbearable choice between staying somewhere that they know is unsafe or becoming homeless.”
He said the Government had already announced an extra £15 million to strengthen its support, with an extra £16 million going directly to refuge services.
Mr Jenrick added: “As a father of three girls I cannot even imagine women and young children being put in this situation.
“But they are.
“We must be alive to the reality of what is happening in all too many homes across the country.
“I want us to defend the rights of those women and those children wherever we can and that is what we’re going to do.”
Addressing victims of domestic violence directly, Mr Jenrick said: “You are not alone, you do not have to stay at home, you can and should leave the home if you’re in danger.”
He added: “Our outstanding police will be there for you, they will help you.”