Fears over whether domestic abuse funds are 'long term' enough
- Credit: PA
Government funding is to be used to help victims of domestic abuse in Great Yarmouth find refuge, amid claims from some councillors that the money won't go far enough.
A total of £77,476 from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has been allocated to Great Yarmouth Borough Council (GYBC) over two years, to help the authority better support victims of domestic abuse.
A much higher sum of £1.8m was meanwhile given to the county council to alleviate the problem across Norfolk.
A county council-produced report, looking at the issue, found there was a shortage of 38 safe bed spaces across Norfolk.
In Yarmouth borough, there was a particular lack of accommodation options for homeless people specifically fleeing domestic abuse - which is the case for some 12pc of the borough's homeless.
The report was presented at a meeting of GYBC's housing and neighbourhoods committee on Thursday (19 May).
While the report was welcomed by councillors on all sides, the authority’s Labour opposition leader, Trevor Wainwright, suggested more money was needed at the borough level, saying: “It’s a great initiative, but it needs long-term funding.
“You can’t sort this out with £35,000 here, £35,000 there - it needs millions.
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“And let me tell you, domestic violence in this borough, and probably throughout the UK, will get 10 times worse when the financial implications of the cost of living crisis hit families, because domestic violence is caused a great deal by financial issues."
Conservative councillor Andy Grant meanwhile pointed to the trend of domestic violence not just being committed by middle-aged and older men.
“Sadly a lot of them are getting younger. There’s more and more men in their 30s,” he said.
“There’s an age old belief, ‘Oh it’s just drunk men in their 50s’ - it’s not, it’s people in their 30s, it’s youngsters in their 20s…
“Any education project we can do with schools, and expanding this work with other groups, is an ideal way of going forwards.”
While he admitted “there is a concern about a lack of long-term funding”, he said the council was still “in a good place” to address the issue into the future.
GYBC has used its funds to appoint a domestic abuse advisor and to source more data about the issue's severity in the borough, to be fed back to Norfolk County Council.