A statement from Lyndsey Dearlove, Head of Hestia's UK SAYS NO MORE campaign to end domestic abuse and sexual violence, regarding Prime Minister Theresa May's announcement that local councils will have a legal duty to provide accommodation for individuals who have experienced domestic abuse.

"We welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement that local councils will have a legal duty to provide safe and secure accommodation for victims fleeing domestic abuse. It is positive also that the new policy will be backed by funding; this should go a long way in ensuring that support available is no longer based on a postcode lottery.

Hestia and many other charities that provide domestic abuse support have been operating against a backdrop of cuts to services, so we are hopeful that the pledged funding will be enough to ensure that refuges and other means of support are sustainable. 

The funding must also reflect the needs of thousands of children who sadly have to flee domestic abuse every year. The majority of refuge residents are children and we hope to see more amendments to the draft Domestic Abuse Bill that will recognise children not merely as witnesses to domestic abuse, but victims and survivors in their own rights.

To truly break the cycle of abuse, we need to ensure that the needs and experiences of children are captured in the Bill. We want to see children affected by domestic abuse receiving priority access to schools as we know they often have to move multiple times to flee abuse. We also want child survivors to be given special waiting list status for all NHS services.

This legislation offers the chance for a landmark change in the way that we as society responds to and supports victims of domestic abuse."

UK SAYS NO MORE is campaigning for children affected by abuse to be recognised by the Domestic Abuse Bill and have their needs enshrined in law. Read more about the campaign and our response to the Draft Domestic Abuse Bill.