Councils will be legally required to provide safe housing for survivors of domestic abuse under new measures announced today.
The Government said the new legal requirement will end variations in support across the country, and provide better protection to thousands of people fleeing abusive and violent relationships.
Councils will also be required to work together with neighbouring councils to ensure domestic abuse services reflect the needs of residents.
They will have to develop and publish strategies detailing the services available to survivors of domestic abuse for the first time.
Local government secretary, James Brokenshire, said: ‘For the first time ever, local authorities will have to legally assess the level of support needed in their local area and match that need with vital, life-saving services – helping untold numbers of families to safely rebuild their lives, free from the threat of pernicious abuse.
‘These important measures will help us shape the future of the invaluable support survivors of domestic abuse and their children receive.’
President of the Association of Directors of Children's Services, Rachel Dickinson, said any new legal duty 'must be fully funded if it is to have the desired impact'.
The level of funding local authorities will receive to deliver these new statutory duties will be determined after consultation with stakeholders.
Chair of the Local Government Association’s safer and stronger communities board, Cllr Simon Blackburn, said: ‘It will be important that the final package ensures local authorities are supported in their work going forward and provide flexibility to ensure services can be tailored to the needs of different areas.
'However, our ambition must be to reduce the number of victims, with greater investment in early intervention and prevention schemes that helps stop domestic abuse occurring in the first place.'