Tackling domestic abuse needs long term cash injection, says Sheffield Council

Victims of domestic abuse will get more support but councillors have criticised the Government for leaving them with the “financial burden”.

Friday, 25th June 2021, 1:25 pm

Sheffield Council has received £1.3m to provide specialist support within safe accommodation including refuges and the Sanctuary Scheme, which enables victims to stay in their own homes.

There will be funding to help children through counselling, play therapy and advocacy plus money to pay for therapeutic support for adults and assist survivors with complex needs.

The Government’s Domestic Abuse Act came into force this year and introduced several new requirements for local councils.

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Coun George Lindars-Hammond has criticised the Government over its funding for domestic abuse victims.
Coun George Lindars-Hammond has criticised the Government over its funding for domestic abuse victims.

Officers at Sheffield say the city is in a “reasonably good position” because it’s already doing a lot of the requirements – £500,000 from a £1.8m budget is already spent on safe accommodation.

But council officer Alison Higgins warned there could be problems ahead. “The support to go to court isn’t covered by this and I think that indicates there’s a problem with the criminal justice system, which is certainly overcrowded. It’s definitely deteriorated over Covid in terms of court.

“One of the issues we need to look at is the impact of Covid on evictions but also Brexit in terms of having no recourse to public funds so those are some things we’re going to have to do some more work on.”

Coun George Lindars-Hammond, Executive member for social care, was critical about the funding.

“I want to be positive about this new Act but the burdens this gives us are significant and the Government yet again is not providing long term sustainable funding,

“We hope that more funding will come forward and we will have to act on the basis that it will because we can’t just do nothing but we have been arguing for much longer term funding solutions.

“It’s yet again disappointing that this Government wants to do something quite good and to work with us but they are not prepared to trust local authorities to really invest in the long term.

“We could commission better and more strongly if the Government gave that longer term funding guarantee.”