15 Feb 2022
As part of the recent funding announcement from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), plans will be put in place for consultation on two key areas of housing rules, with the aim of giving victims and survivors of domestic abuse more choice on where they rebuild their lives.
The government’s Domestic Abuse Act 2021 places a legal duty on councils to fund support in safe accommodation for all victims and their families. A further £125 million new burden funding is being allocated to local authorities for delivery of their duties in 2022 to 2023. This continuation of funding is to make sure safe accommodation spaces, such as refuges and shelters, can provide victims with vital support services including healthcare, social work and specialist services. The funding will be issued as an un-ringfenced grant to local authorities who will then be responsible for making decisions on how the funding is spent to benefit those in need.
The consultations announced have a closing date of 10 May 2022. The first consultation will consider removing the ‘local connection tests’ for domestic abuse victims, which can stop victims from applying for social housing if they do not have a connection to a local area. This often forces victims to live in the same communities as their abusers and denies them a fresh start in a new place. The second consultation will consider whether and how to change current rules that make it difficult for victims to remove their perpetrators from joint tenancies, which can mean victims either feel forced to stay in their home or are at risk of being made homeless by their abuser.
Rachael Williamson, head of policy and external affairs at CIH said:
"It is vitally important that domestic abuse victims and survivors can access the housing and support they need so that they can start to heal and rebuild their lives. We welcome the confirmation of £125 million to enable local authorities to continue providing support in safe accommodation. We are also very pleased that the department is consulting on these two key policy areas. We look forward to engaging with our members on the detail as we prepare our response”.
If you would like to discuss any of this further, please contact Hannah.keilloh@CIH.org