Services provided for Domestic Abuse Victims by Councils in England and Wales (December 2014)

Introduction:

During the period August to December in 2014, PARITY, using Freedom of Information
Requests (see page 5), undertook a survey of a random selection of 49 City and Metropolitan
Councils (City/Metro) and 35 County Councils, in England and Wales, to find out what services
they provided or funded for victims of domestic abuse (DA) in their areas.

Information on such services was received from 45 City/Metro, and 33 County Councils:

Three other City/Metro Councils advised that DA services were mainly provided by their County Council
and not by them, and thus could provide only partial or no information. One other City/Metro
Council relied on a Housing Association for such services and also provided no information. Two
other County Councils approached provided only partial information.
Data on services

Overall, the majority of the 78 Councils responding provided some form of shared services
generally for both male and female victims, although this extended only to outreach or support for
male victims in the case of eleven authorities (6 City/Metro and 5 County). Two City/Metro
Councils and two County Councils appeared to provide no routine or specific services at all for
male victims. 62 Councils (33 City/Metro and 29 County) provided refuges or had access to
refuge accommodation by Women’s Aid or other organization for female victims and their
children. Only two Councils, both County, provided specific refuge accommodation for male
victims and their children.

The information presented, shows that except for an IDVA service, fewer than half of
authorities responding claimed or appeared to provide some form of shared low-level support
services, excluding refuge provision, on a gender neutral basis. Also, whilst 79% of Councils
(73% City/Metro and 88% County) provided a refuge service for female victims and their children,
only 28% (29% City/Metro and 27% County) appeared to provide emergency accommodation for
male victims and their children in lieu of refuge provision.

These results shown, the majority of Councils do not take the provision of meaningful
support services for male victims of domestic abuse (and their children) as seriously as equality
law might expect. [‘Equality’ meaning ‘equality between individuals’. 2006 Equality Act 8(2)].
Where refuge provision is provided by Councils for female victims, surely the least they can do in
the name of equality and equal treatment is to provide also emergency accommodation of some
form for comparable male victims and their children. Failure to do this is not only an injustice to
male victims but also to their children. It also suggests that the actual needs and plight of male
victims and their children, including the need for safe emergency accommodation, deserve more
research and attention than has been the case so far.

Freedom of Information Request:

Would you please provide us with following information:

For the year 2012/13 (or latest year of complete record):

1 What services or provisions did the Council provide directly or indirectly to support specifically:

(a) female victims of domestic violence/abuse
(b) male victims of domestic violence/abuse.

2 What funding did the Council expend in the same period to provide such services for specifically:

(a) female victims of domestic violence/abuse
(b) male victims of domestic violence/abuse.

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