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Cambridgeshire County Council pledges almost £3.7million to help people suffering domestic abuse

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Members of Cambridgeshire’s communities, social mobility and inclusion committee have given the green light to proceed with contracts totalling almost £3.7million to provide services to support victims of domestic abuse.

The committee met on Thursday at New Shire Hall and agreed to award a six-year contract for £2,490,000 to provide refuge accommodation.

There are three refuges in the county, including one in Fenland, providing space for 32 women and 55 children at any given time. These will continue to be available to those fleeing from out of area, and within area if there is a significant distance and this is deemed to be safe.

Councillor Tom Sanderson, chair of county’s communities, social mobility and inclusion committee.
Councillor Tom Sanderson, chair of county’s communities, social mobility and inclusion committee.

In addition, committee members approved the commencement of a procurement exercise for a domestic abuse outreach service. The two-year contract would cost in the region of £700,000. This support is accessible to all, regardless of level of risk, to enable people to remain safe in their own home or to find alternative accommodation. This service would ensure victims and survivors can access direct support, and is an independent confidential service.

Members also approved the procurement of dispersed safe accommodation, primarily for residents who are being abused. The two-year contract would cost in the region of £500,000. It will provide an additional option for safe accommodation for various groups of people, including victims with teenage children, those with complex needs or with no recourse to public funds. Independent Domestic Violence Advisors will support them to move back to their own homes, or alternative accommodation, with a range safety measures in place such as additional security and legal remedies such as Occupation Orders and Non Molestation Orders.

Last month, the county council was awarded £1,143,474 by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to support victims of domestic abuse in 2022/23. The committee has recommended that this funding is ring-fenced.

The money will be spent primarily on the projects mentioned above, to support victims of domestic violence to stay safe in their own homes and to meet the duties set out in the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, which came into force in late April 2021.

The Act places a statutory duty on local authorities regarding the provision of support within safe accommodation for victims of domestic violence.

Cllr Tom Sanderson, chair of the county council’s communities, social mobility and inclusion committee, said: “A huge amount of support is available for people who are experiencing domestic abuse and the decision made by committee today will ensure this support can continue in future years.

“Unfortunately domestic abuse has become more prevalent in our communities since the pandemic, so it is vital that we continue to work with our partners to provide services which keep people safe.

“If you need help, please visit our website at www.cambsdasv.org.uk which has lots of information and routes to get support.”

Cambridgeshire County Council is part of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Partnership.

The partnership is made up of key agencies in the county that have a role in preventing, and providing services and support to survivors of, domestic abuse and sexual violence.

The key aim of the partnership is to reduce the harm, risks and costs associated with domestic abuse and sexual violence and to prevent these crimes occurring across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

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