Agenda item


The Director of Neighbourhood and Environmental Services submits a report to summarise the new duties on the local authority emerging from the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 and seek feedback on the draft domestic abuse safe accommodation strategy 2022-25. 


The Chair noted that this was a joint item with the Housing Scrutiny Commission, the Chair welcomed those Members of Housing Scrutiny that were present to the meeting.


Councillor Russell, Deputy City Mayor for Social Care and Anti-Poverty, introduced the item. It was noted that the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 required a change in the Local Authority’s duties around domestic abuse. 


Stephanie McBurney, Team Manager for Domestic and Sexual Violence, presented the item, it was noted that:


·         Under the new legislation, each Local Authority had to assess the need for accommodation-based support and create, publish, and monitor a strategy for the provision of such support.

·         As part of the strategy, a locality partnership board would be established, with representatives from the Council, VCS specialists, Police and Health groups, and those affected by domestic abuse. 

·         Due to national deadlines, the consultation period was only a month long.

·         The strategic objective for the strategy were practically focused, focusing on commissioning and structure.

·         The themed priorities of the strategy were focused on gathering intelligence and developing the workforce.

·         The final strategy would be published on 5 January 2022.

·         It wasn’t intended to give less focus to none accommodation-based issues in the area, the delivery group could well look at other aspects and issues.


In response to questions from Members of both Commissions, it was noted that:


·         A community event in Belgrave hosted by Ward Councillors on the issue of domestic abuse had been a great success. There was interest from other Ward Councillors about holding similar community events in their own wards.

·         It was important to make sure that it was well known that resources were there to support victims to whom English wasn’t their first language.

·         The implementation of the strategy would be fed back to the Commission in a similar way as the domestic abuse contracts.

·         Domestic abuse was an issue for every community, and it was important to understand how it could be hidden. Previous work had been undertaken with communities to help spot signs of hidden abuse. One example of a community group that had previously been involved in this area was the Polish Mums and Children’s Group.

·         The issue of timely move-on had been exacerbated by Covid, but connections with Housing Officers had helped ease the issue of overcrowding in emergency accommodation. Respite Rooms, a new pilot, had shown some positive signs in this area.

·         Police could be invited to Commission meetings by the Chair to feed into this area and other areas.

·         The National Domestic Abuse Network would remain important in cases of needing to move victims out of the city for their safety.

·         A diversity of provision was necessary in order to be able to respond to different demographics and circumstances.




1.    That the Commission recommends that Members’ comments be taken into account for the new strategy.

2.    That the Commission requests an update on progress in 6 months.

3.    That the Commission praises the Belgrave community event that was held on domestic abuse and encourages other communities to hold similar events.

4.    That the Commission recommends that Domestic Abuse services should seek to be as inclusive as possible with regards to language.

5.    That the Commission praises the strategy.

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