The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 became law on 29 April 2021 and is designed to strengthen protections for victims and survivors of domestic abuse through the criminal justice system and via support services. The Act includes a statutory definition of domestic abuse, emphasising that domestic abuse is not just physical violence, but can also be emotional, coercive or controlling, and includes economic abuse. As part of this definition, children will be explicitly recognised as victims in their own right.
The Act places a duty on Local Authorities in England to:
• provide all eligible homeless victims of domestic abuse with an automatic ‘priority need’ for homelessness assistance;
• ensure that when Local Authorities rehouse victims of domestic abuse, they do not lose a secure lifetime or assured tenancy;
• provide all eligible homeless victims of domestic abuse with an automatic ‘priority need’ for settled housing under the homelessness legislation.
Local Authorities are required to conduct a needs assessment to fully understand their requirements relating to the new duty which is required to be submitted in October 2021. West Sussex County Council has undertaken this needs assessment in conjunction with relevant local partners and has received one off funding in the region of £1.4m from Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government to respond to the results of the required needs assessment.
The new legislation requires the formation of a Partnership Board, if not already set up, to advise Local Authorities on how to meet their responsibilities against the new duty. West Sussex County Council will continue to use the existing West Sussex Domestic and Sexual Violence and Abuse Steering group to review progress and activity against our local action plan. In addition, a shared action plan is being developed to deliver the Pan-Sussex Strategic Framework which will incorporate the local West Sussex and East Sussex action plans. The Sussex Partnership Board will oversee the elements of the action plan that are consistent pan-Sussex
This decision will ask the Cabinet Member for Adult Services to agree the final policy and delegate authority to the Director of Communities to approve appropriate allocations from the £1.4m of Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government funding in line with The Sussex Partnership Board’s assessment of the needs of all victims in the local area and within the terms of the government’s grant conditions.
Decision type: Key
Reason Key: Expenditure > £500,000;
Decision status: For Determination
Divisions affected: (All Divisions);
Notice of proposed decision first published: 15/09/2021
Decision due: December 2021 by Cabinet Member for Adults Services
Lead member: Councillor Amanda Jupp firstname.lastname@example.org
Lead director: Emily King
Contact: Jim Bartlett, Acting Head of community safety and wellbeing Email: email@example.com Tel: Mobile: 07548 125813.
Representations concerning this proposed decision can be made via the officer contact.
Consultation with District and Borough Councils in West Sussex, Police & Crime Commissioner and East Sussex County Council.
Democratic Services Contact: Erica Keegan Tel: 033 022 26050