Grants to help Mansfield and Ashfield domestic abuse victims rebuild their lives

Hundreds of victims of domestic abuse in Mansfield and Ashfield, and their children, are to receive extra support to help them rebuild their lives.

The government has splashed out more than £1.5 million in grants to local councils to help victims of domestic abuse.
The government has splashed out more than £1.5 million in grants to local councils to help victims of domestic abuse.

The government’s Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, is giving more than £10 million to councils in the East Midlands as part of a £125 million package nationwide.

A total of £1,544,354 is going to Nottinghamshire County Council, while Mansfield District Council will receive £31,264 and Ashfield District Council £32,020.

The government says the money is “to make sure safe accommodation spaces, such as refuges and shelters, can provide victims with vital support services, including healthcare, social workers and benefits”.

The county council has revealed that 20 per cent of domestic abuse victims in Nottinghamshire this year (2021/22) hail from the Mansfield area.

The funding has come about because a new law, The Domestic Abuse Act 2021, places a duty of care on local councils to ensure victims get the right support when they need it.

The county council revealed that 4,800 domestic abuse victims received help in Nottinghamshire during 2020/21.

This figure is expected to rise to 5,000 in 2021/22, with 20 per cent of victims in the current year from the Mansfield area.

The county council is to use the money to deliver year two of its three-year plan in partnership with district councils, such as Mansfield and Ashfield, domestic abuse services and the police.

Coun Helen-Ann Smith, of Ashfield District Council, welcomed the funding and said the council is looking to recruit a safe accommodation co-ordinator for domestic abuse victims.

Coun Boyd Elliott, chair of the county council’s adult social care and public health committee, said: “We’re delighted with the funding as we have already had some successes with our work so far. We can now deliver the next steps of our plan.

“The last couple of years have been difficult, with the pandemic leading to an increase in domestic abuse referrals.

"However, our local support services have really stepped up, and I am confident that our plan will further improve outcomes.”

In Mansfield, the grant was welcomed by Coun Marion Bradshaw, portfolio holder on the council for safer communities, housing and wellbeing.

A total of 5,000 victims of domestic abuse, and their children, are expected to need support from councils during 2021/22, says Nottinghamshire County Council.

She said: “This new funding is good news for Mansfield and the support we and our partners can offer survivors of domestic abuse.

"In the coming months, we will be looking in detail at how best to use this funding to help families affected.”

Ashfield Council says it will use the funding “to recruit a safe accommodation co-ordinator, who will work with other councils to help victims wishing to move to other areas”.

Coun Helen-Ann Smith, cabinet member for community safety, said: “The funding will also allow us to enhance the services we already offer to victims of domestic violence.

"We know how difficult it can be for victims to reach out for help for the first time. We are committed to offering support and advice.”

Coun Smith hopes the funding will boost the council’s existing Sanctuary Scheme too. She explained: “This scheme provides help and support for those victims wishing to remain in their home, as well as those who want to flee domestic abuse.

"The funding will help us to ensure we are delivering safe and effective interventions with those we work with.”

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The government is also considering altering current housing rules, which can restrict victims on where they want to move to and make a fresh start. Sometimes they are forced to stay in the same area as their abuser.

The rules on joint tenancies, which can make it difficult for victims to leave homes where their perpetrators also live, might be changed too.

Nicole Jacobs, the Domestic Abuse Commissioner for England, said: “The right support in a safe environment is integral to rebuilding your life after domestic abuse.

"It is vital that victims and survivors can access safe housing, regardless of their tenure type. That means staying in their own home if they want to, as well as being able to move to a new area if they are no longer safe where they live.”

Eddie Hughes, the government’s Rough Sleeping and Housing Minister, said: “Through the landmark Domestic Abuse Act, we have transformed the response to domestic abuse, helping to prevent offending and making sure victims are protected and supported.”

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