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Domestic Violence

Volume 472: debated on Thursday 21 February 2008

To ask the Minister for Women and Equality (1) what steps the Government have taken to increase funding for organisations supporting those affected by domestic violence; (186845)

(2) what steps the Government have taken to provide support to those affected by domestic violence.

[holding answer 18 February 2008]: The Inter-departmental Ministerial Group on Domestic Violence, on which I sit, monitors action on the National Domestic Violence Plan, which includes the delivery of support to victims and their families.

A lot has been done to increase the support available for families affected by domestic violence:

Last year, the Home Office allocated just under £6 million to tackle domestic violence including £2 million to support and improve local delivery on domestic violence for victims and their children. It also funded improved public protection arrangements for domestic violence victims and a matrix of help lines to provide advice and support to victims and their families.

The Ministry of Justice allocated £3 million for Independent Domestic Violence Advisers whose aim is the safety and support of victims and their children. This is in addition to annual court business costs.

The Every Child Matters: Change for Children programme aims to improve the welfare of all children by putting in place arrangements for earlier and more effective assessment and intervention for vulnerable children, such as those affected by domestic violence.

The Department for Communities and Local Government has developed a range of accommodation options for victims including Sanctuary Scheme guidance, and 61 million of Supporting People funds were used by local authorities in 2006-07 to provide housing related support for victims of domestic violence and their families. Guidance for Jobcentre Plus staff provides advice about domestic violence and its potential impact on victims, explains the sorts of support they may need and provides advice on taking account of their particular circumstances when dealing with a benefit application. The guidance also has contact details of a range of organisations which provide advice and support to domestic violence victims.

Financial support in respect of children, such as child benefit and child tax credits, is paid to the person who is responsible for those children and is often already paid directly to mothers. Where there is any family breakdown, the benefits will, where necessary, normally be transferred to the person with whom the children are living.

Domestic violence tears apart families and always affects children. The Government recognise the strong links between child protection concerns and domestic violence. Victims leaving a violent relationship will often need a range of financial and practical support for themselves and their children. The Inter-departmental Ministerial Group will continue to monitor this aspect of delivery.