HAMPSHIRE is set to benefit from hundreds of thousands of pounds to help it provide support for domestic abuse victims and their children, figures reveal.

The money – a slice of the £125 million pot for all local authorities across England – will fund a new legal duty on councils to ensure victims can access vital services in safe accommodation, including refuges, as part of the Government's domestic abuse bill.

A breakdown released by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government reveals £587,012 will be allocated to Southampton City Council in the next financial year.

It is one of 120 "tier 1" authorities – larger councils which will receive the bulk of the funding and be expected to create partnership boards, which bring local services together, as well as assessing victims' needs.

The Council has said it is working with the NHS Southampton City Clinical Commissioning Group, Hampshire Constabulary and other partners, but recognises that "there is always more to do".

A total of £33,837 will be allocated to Eastleigh Borough Council, a further £34,603 will be allocated to Fareham Borough Council and £33,235 will be allocated to the New Forest District Council.

The domestic abuse bill, which is currently before MPs, will also introduce the first legal government definition of domestic abuse, including economic abuse and controlling and manipulative non-physical behaviour.

Home Office data shows 15 per cent of all crime recorded by Hampshire Constabulary involved domestic abuse in the year to March 2020, with 24,203 such crimes recorded.

Councillor Dave Shields, cabinet member for stronger communities, Southampton City Council, said: “We’ve been working closely with the NHS Southampton City Clinical Commissioning Group, Hampshire Constabulary and other partners in the city to ensure victims of domestic and sexual abuse benefit from specialist support, advocacy, safe accommodation and other interventions, especially at this difficult time.

"But we recognise there is always more to do, so we welcome this funding, which will enable us to continue to support victims and perpetrators in Southampton, address the underlying causes of abuse, and help vulnerable people recover and rebuild their lives.”

Tracy Blackwell, Head of Development at Refuge - the country’s largest single provider of domestic abuse services - said: "Refuge welcomes the pledge of £125 million from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

"This is much-needed funding for specialist refuge services such as ours.

"We hope this will go some way to ensuring local authorities can provide adequate, sustainable funding for refuges in their area. However, we know that more can be done."