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£3m government funding for children affected by domestic abuse

Further government funding of £3 million has been announced for organisations supporting children affected by domestic abuse.

As the Domestic Abuse Bill will be debated by MPs at the Bill’s second reading today, the Home Office has announced £3.1 million funding to support children who have been directly or indirectly affected by domestic abuse.

The funding comes after the National Domestic Abuse Helpline has seen a surge in calls and record levels of traffic to its website, which also provides advice to victims of domestic abuse, during lockdown measures.

Minister for Safeguarding Victoria Atkins said: “It is unacceptable that some children have to witness appalling abuse carried out in their home by those they should trust the most.

“This funding will go towards supporting these children, healing their emotional scars, and ensuring they can move forwards and have a positive future,” she added.

The new funding will be split between local authorities, children’s charities and Police and Crime Commissioners across England and Wales including Barnardo’s, Cambridgeshire County Council and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria. The funding will provide one-to-one and group counselling sessions to improve the mental health of children affected and early intervention schemes.

Sarah Crawley, Director of Barnardo’s Cymru, said: “We are delighted that funding for our Opening Closed Doors service will continue for another year. Domestic abuse is an epidemic with devastating effects on children and their families. It leaves families in a state of trauma, with significant impact on their emotional and mental health.

“Sadly the pandemic has seen incidents of domestic violence escalate still further and has highlighted the importance of support for families,” Ms Crawley added.

The Domestic Abuse Bill, which creates a statutory definition of domestic abuse, will introduce a wide range of measures to support victims and survivors of domestic abuse as well as ensure perpetrators are punished. Some of the measures included in the Bill include:

- Establishing the role of the Domestic Abuse Commissioner in law.

- Providing police with new Domestic Abuse Protection Orders and Domestic Abuse Protection Notices.

- Placing a statutory duty on local authorities to provide support to victims of domestic abuse.

- Prohibiting perpetrators from cross examining witnesses in family courts in England and Wales.

- Ensuring victims of domestic abuse receive special measures in criminal courts, such as allowing them to provide evidence by video link.

WillisPalmer raised concerns about the ‘toxic trio’ of parental mental ill health, substance and domestic abuse being exacerbated under lockdown measures in a series published in the Parliamentary Review.

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