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Domestic Violence Refuges at Risk

Domestic violence charity Women’s Aid has warned that proposed plans put forward by the Government could put refuge services in England at risk. 

The Government has announced plans to change the way they fund short-term supported housing. A survey by the charity on the potential impact of these plans found that:

  • 39% (30 out of 78) of refuge services who responded fear they will be forced to close down,
  • a further 13% (10 out of 78) said they would be forced to reduce the number of bed spaces available,
  • an estimated 588 bed spaces in refuge services who responded will be lost, and
  • an estimated 2,058 more women and 2,202 more children will be unable to access a place in the refuge services who responded.

Only a third of refuges in England responded to the survey, and therefore this loss of provision is likely to just be the tip of the iceberg, says Women’s Aid. This comes on top of the thousands who are already unable to access a refuge service due to lack of available spaces. On just one day this year, 94 women and 90 children were apparently turned away from refuge, while 60% of all referrals to refuges in 2016/17 were declined.

“Demand for refuges already far outstrips supply and the proposed funding model could be the breaking point,” commented Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid. “Refuges will be faced with the awful reality of either turning more women and children away or closing their doors forever.”

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