The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has announced a series of housing-focused measures to support victims of domestic abuse.

£125m will be handed to councils across England to make sure safe accommodation spaces, such as refuges and shelters, can provide victims with support services including healthcare, social workers and benefits.

Interpreters, immigration advice, drug or alcohol support and other specialist services will also be funded.

The funding will be issued as an un-ringfenced grant to local councils who will then be responsible for making decisions on how the funding is spent.

The government has also announced a consultation that will consider removing Local Connection Tests for abuse victims, which currently can stop victims from applying for social housing if they do not have a connection to a local area.

This can often mean victims are forced to live in the same communities as their abuser and are denied a fresh start.

second consultation will consider whether and how to change current rules that make it difficult for victims to remove their perpetrators from joint tenancies, which can mean victims either feel forced to stay in their home or are at risk of being made homeless by their abuser.

The government will call on people with experience of domestic abuse and those working in the sector to share their views.

Rough Sleeping and Housing Minister, Eddie Hughes, said: “This funding will give victims of domestic abuse and their children across the country the practical and emotional support to recover and rebuild their lives from this terrible crime.

“Through the landmark Domestic Abuse Act, the government has transformed the response to domestic abuse, helping to prevent offending and make sure victims are protected and supported.

“The consultations we are launching today build on this work and will help us give victims more options to move forward with their lives in the way that is right for them.”

Safeguarding Minister, Rachel Maclean said: “Home is not the safe place it should be for domestic abuse victims and their families. The extra support provided today will provide a vital lifeline for victims as they try and rebuild their lives positively while feeling supported and protected.

“These are important changes that sit alongside the new measures in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which will give victims of domestic abuse longer to report offences to the police, so that abusers do not evade justice.”

Nicole Jacobs, Domestic Abuse Commissioner for England and Wales said: “For victims and survivors of domestic abuse, home is often the most dangerous place. I welcome the confirmation of £125m to enable local authorities in England to meet their duties to provide support in safe accommodation for victims and survivors of domestic abuse.

“The right support in a safe environment is integral to rebuilding your life after fleeing domestic abuse and this duty will be transformative in tackling the postcode lottery of accommodation-based support for victims and survivors.

“I am also pleased that the department is opening consultations on the impacts of joint tenancies on victims of domestic abuse and on local connection requirements for social housing for victims of domestic abuse. It is vital that victims and survivors can access safe housing regardless of their tenure type.

“That means staying safely in their own home if they want to, as well as being able to access housing in a new area if they are no longer safe where they live.

“I look forward to seeing the outcome of these consultations and welcome the steps the department is taking to ensure victims and survivors can access the housing they need after being subject to domestic abuse.”