Nottingham City Council has welcomed extra funding and responsibilities to help it tackle domestic violence.

The council has received £871,000 of Government funding which comes as a new Domestic Abuse Bill has been signed into law, providing further protections to the millions of people who experience domestic abuse and strengthening measures to tackle perpetrators.

The Domestic Abuse Act became law last week, marking the first time in history when there is a wide-ranging legal definition of domestic abuse which incorporates a range of abuses beyond physical violence, including emotional, coercive or controlling behaviour, and economic abuse.   

The measures include important new protections and support for victims ensuring that abusers will no longer be allowed to directly cross-examine their victims in the family and civil courts, and giving victims better access to special measures in the courtroom to help prevent intimidation. 

The new law also places a duty on local authorities in England to provide support to victims of domestic abuse and their children in refuges and other safe accommodation. The funding the City Council has received will be used to improve domestic abuse safe accommodation services.

This will include providing a full time children’s worker in all local refuges, specialist support for women moving on from refuges into Move On houses – a stepping stone towards moving into a permanent home – and a Flexible Housing Fund for each refuge to help pay for women and children moving into and out of refuges. It will also fund a specialist Domestic Violence and Abuse worker from Women’s Aid based in Housing Aid, therapeutic support for women and children and safe accommodation outreach workers for men and people from the BAME and LGBT communities.

Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhoods, Safety and Inclusion, Cllr Neghat Khan, said: “The new law passed last week is extremely welcome, as it provides extra protection and makes it easier for survivors to bring their cases to court and for perpetrators to be brought to justice, as well as recognising children as survivors in their own right for the first time.

“The extra responsibilities placed on councils will help to bolster the arrangements we already have in place to protect survivors, including children, and the funding we have received from Government enables us to put extra support in place which will make a real difference to survivors.”