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Help us save refuges, save lives


SOS campaign success on the International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women

The Department for Communities and Local Government has announced a £10 million national fund to protect our network of specialist refuges.

Women’s Aid is delighted to welcome this commitment, made off the back of the SOS Save Refuges, Save Lives campaign. It is vital however, that this fund is matched with a commitment to exploring a new model of funding for refuges that supports them in the long-term and we call on the Government to commit to this.

This £10 million fund will provide a life-line for many refuges at risk of closure and should help ensure high quality specialist services can continue their life-saving work. We are now committed to working with the Government, and all main Political parties, to find a viable long term model of funding and commissioning for specialist refuges.

Women’s Aid launched the SOS Save Refuges, Save Lives campaign in September this year in an attempt to halt and reverse the decimation of the national network of refuges through vicious funding cuts and problematic commissioning processes. The campaign called on the Government to commit to protecting our national network of specialist refuges and to exploring a new model of funding and commissioning that supports a sustainable services and high quality care.

We are pleased the Government has listened to our SOS, the voices of survivors of domestic violence and the services that protect them.


Our world leading national network of refuges is facing an urgent crisis. Across England, more and more specialist refuges are experiencing massive funding cuts and being closed down. This crisis will cost lives.


SOS women and children turned away


We risk losing this life-saving network of services if we do not act now.

We are calling on the government to Save Our Services by committing to preserving the national network of specialist refuges by exploring a new model of national refuge funding and commissioning.

What can I do?

 1) Sign our Petition

2) Send your SOS signal

Download our template and write a word or phrase that explains why you think we should protect refuges. Then tweet us a picture! 

 3) Tweet your support

"I support the @womensaid #saverefugessavelives campaign https://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/SOS"


4) Tweet your MP

"Help @womensaid #saverefugessavelives by showing your support for the SOS campaign www.womensaid.org.uk/sos can we count on you?"


5) Write to your MP

You can use this letter as a start, but please personalise explaining why you are supporting this campaigning. 



What is happening to specialist refuges across England?

SOS specialist servicesSpecialist refuges are services which are designed to meet the needs specifically of women domestic violence survivors and their children. The specialist and woman-only nature of services ensures that women and children feel safe, secure and supported and removes any barriers to them finding a safe place when they are escaping domestic violence. Specialist refuges help women and children escape, cope and rebuild their lives after domestic violence.

Being in a refuge might be the first safe space that children and young people may have had in a long time. Specialist provision for children and young people from refuge staff is vital as it allows them to have their health and educational needs addressed individually. Children and young people can also explore the impact of the abuse they have experienced in an understanding environment, which can minimise long term negative cognitive, behavioural and emotional effects, enabling them to reach their potential. To find out more about what a refuge is like inside take a tour around our Virtual Refuge on The Hideout website.

Our national network of specialist domestic violence refuges is in crisis like never before:

• Between 2010 and 2014 (July) the number of specialist refuge services decreased from 187 to 155.

• In England, according to Council of Europe recommendations, there is a shortfall of 1,727 refuge bedspaces (32%).

• In one day in 2013, 155 women and their 103 children were turned away from refuge because they could not be accommodated.

•  48% of 167 domestic violence services in England said that they were running services without funding. Six refuge services were being run without dedicated funding and using up their reserves to keep their services going.

• Between April and July 2014, ten specialist domestic violence services across England lost funding for services they were providing. All but one of these nine services lost their services to a non-specialist service provider.

• Our world leading national network of refuges is facing an urgent crisis. Please help us Save Our Services.


Your SOS Signals