Through the Domestic Abuse Bill, this Government are placing a new statutory duty on tier one local authorities to provide support to victims of domestic abuse in safe accommodation in England. Subject to the Bill receiving Royal Assent, this new duty will commence in April 2021.
To help local authorities plan and prepare for the implementation of the new duty, I am pleased to announce today a £6 million domestic abuse capacity building fund.
I recognise the invaluable work that local authorities do each and every day to help residents in their local areas, including the most vulnerable in our society. This new funding will help ensure that local authorities are resourced to prepare for implementation of the new duty. It will promote more effective delivery on commencement, meaning local authorities will be more quickly able to commission much needed support for those victims of domestic abuse and their children who are currently turned away from refuges and other safe accommodation because their needs cannot be met.
This fund will be allocated equally to tier one local authorities (unitary and metropolitan authorities, county councils, the Greater London Association for London boroughs and the Council of the Isles of Scilly), who will be the accountable body under the new duty. It will be allocated as an unring-fenced grant in recognition that local authorities will know best how to prepare locally. I encourage tier one authorities to use it to engage with their local domestic abuse services, including specialist services for victims from diverse groups.
To further help local authorities with their preparation work, I am also publishing guidance setting out the purpose and suggested outcomes of this fund, and my officials are holding workshops to support local authorities.
Today I am also launching a consultation to seek views on the methodology proposed for allocating funding to meet the new burdens associated with the new duty once it comes into force. The level of funding is of course a matter for the spending review.
I encourage all local authorities to use this range of support to ensure they are ready for implementation in April 2021.