Domestic Abuse Commissioner responds to Progress Report on safe accommodation duty

Today, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has published the Second Annual Progress Report of the National Expert Steering Group on Part 4 of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021.

The Domestic Abuse Safe Accommodation National Expert Steering Group (NESG) was set up to monitor the delivery of the duty on local authorities to fund domestic abuse services, established in the Domestic Abuse Act 2021. The group agreed to publish an annual report summarising progress across the country – this is the second report.

According to data from this year’s report:

  • Between April 2022 and March 2023, local authorities supported 50,670 individuals in safe accommodation – 21,170 of whom were children.
  • 24,580 households were unable to be supported. The most common reason for this was due to a service’s capacity constraints, which was the reason cited for 40% (9,820 households) of households that were unable to be supported.

The Domestic Abuse Commissioner for England and Wales, Nicole Jacobs, the co-chair of the NESG, says, “Significant strides have been made since this important national duty to fund domestic abuse accommodation was introduced in 2021. More than 50,000 victims have been  accessed lifesaving housing in the last year alone.

“But in the context of growing constraints on local authority budgets, we can and we must go further. It is worrying that still so many were turned away due to a lack of bedspaces.

“For victims who already have a home, but need support with their mental wellbeing, their safety, or their journey through the criminal justice system – the picture is starker still. Building on the successes shown in this report, we need a duty to fund these lifesaving services too. I want to work towards a world where victims and their children are not forced to flee, but can be supported and protected in a way that suits their needs.

“I look forward to continuing to work with government to ensure that the right resources are in place to continue supporting victims and survivors well into the future.”

Read the Progress Report here.