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Domestic Abuse Victims: Welfare

Volume 656: debated on Monday 18 March 2019

21. What steps the Government are taking to support victims of domestic abuse through the welfare system. (909849)

Domestic abuse is a devastating crime and my Department will always do what it can to support victims of domestic abuse. Departmental training and awareness is now better than ever, but I can confirm that, by the summer of this year, we will ensure that we have domestic abuse specialists in every jobcentre to help everybody who needs it.

What steps are the Government taking to increase the provision and quality of supported housing for such vulnerable people?

I thank my hon. Friend for raising this issue. Of course, supported housing is essential for vulnerable groups, including those fleeing domestic abuse, which is why we announced in August last year that we will maintain funding for all supported housing and housing benefit. I am going to work closely with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Chancellor and local authorities to ensure that quality and value for money are always available in supported housing provision for domestic abuse victims.

Making sure that the system prevents domestic abuse, including financial abuse, is as important as supporting those, rightly, who are affected by it. The Secretary of State made a statement a few months ago regarding single payment of universal credit. What progress has she made on that to make sure that women and the children they support as main carer can directly receive the support that they so rightly need?

I thank the hon. Lady for raising this issue. She is right and I announced recently that I want to make sure that it is the main carer who receives the benefit. I am working with jobcentres to ensure that we have a new approach so that there is effectively an early question in their process where they find out who the main carer is, who is usually a woman, so that we can ensure that potential victims of domestic abuse are more likely to have access to the overall funds.