To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the July 2018 report of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission entitled Pressing for Progress, if he will take steps to (a) address the national shortage of refuge space for women who are fleeing domestic violence and (b) ensure that women are not refused refuge because there is not sufficient room for their children.
The Government is absolutely committed to protecting all victims of domestic abuse. I note the recommendations regarding tackling Domestic Violence, Abuse and Femicide in the July 2018 Equalities and Human Rights Commission report, Pressing for Progress.
Since 2014, my Department has invested £33.5 million in services to support victims of domestic abuse, including refuges. In addition on 2 July we launched an £18.8 million fund for domestic abuse services, including refuges. This fund, which closed to applications on 28 August, was open to all local authorities across England to bid for a share. We will announce successful projects in due course.
My Department is also carrying out a review of how domestic abuse services are commissioned and funded locally across England. The review is being informed by an independent audit, run by Ipsos MORI, of provision of domestic abuse services across England, which is enabling us to understand what impact services are having and identify any gaps. We are working closely with other Departments, organisations within sector and local authorities, to develop future, sustainable delivery options for domestic abuse services, including refuges.
We are considering the needs of children in the review, and we have been clear that we expect local authorities to conduct robust needs assessments to meet the needs of all victims when commissioning domestic abuse services, including those presenting with children.