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Government announces multi-million pound funding for children abused in lockdown

Girl crying with her head in her hands

28 April, 2020

The Home Office has pledged £3.1 million to specialist services for children who have been “directly and indirectly affected” by domestic abuse following a “surge” in cases.

A report by MPs published on Monday revealed that calls to a national domestic abuse helpline rose by 49% and killings doubled weeks after lockdown.

The extra funding, which was announced on Tuesday, comes as MPs continue to debate the Domestic Abuse Bill, which will introduce a new scale of measures to support victims and survivors of domestic abuse following the spike in cases since the COVID-19 outbreak.

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.”

But in a Labour response, Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said that the number falls “woefully short” of the amount that’s needed to support “vital frontline services”.

Services such as one-to-one and group counselling sessions and early intervention schemes are all to be part of the new £3.1 million fund, distributed between councils, charities and police and crime commissioners.

Sarah Crawley, Director of Barnardo’s Cymru, said: “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.”

Earlier this month, the Home Office launched the #YouAreNotAlone domestic abuse campaign, which included a pledge of £2 million to domestic abuse services.

You can find government advice for victims of domestic abuse here, including signposting and support for men, women, children, the LGBTQIA community and sexual assault victims.

Image: Serghei/stock.adobe.com