Help us save refuges, save lives
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.
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.
Your SOS Signals - tweet #saverefugessavelives to add yours!
What can I do?
1) Join us at our SOS candle-lit vigil.
2) Sign our Petition
3) 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!
4) Tweet your support
"I support the @womensaid #saverefugessavelives campaign https://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/SOS"
5) Tweet your MP
"Help @womensaid #saverefugessavelives by showing your support for the SOS campaign www.womensaid.org.uk/sos can we count on you?"
6) Write to your MP
You can use this letter as a start, but please personalise explaining why you are supporting this campaigning.
After an incredibly successful first two months of the SOS campaign we will be handing in the SOS petition to No.10 Downing Street on Thursday 20 November!
The hand-in will be alongside a firm ask that the Government commits to protecting our national network of refuges during the 16 Days of Action Against Gender Violence, which commences on Tuesday 25 November.
To mark Women’s Aid handing-in the SOS petition we will be holding a candle-lit Vigil on Thursday 20 November at Downing Street from 6pm to 7pm gathering enabling SOS campaign supporters to show their support for the women and children living in refuges as we stand together.
We are aiming to have numerous SOS candle-lit vigils happening across the country simultaneously. We are inviting our supporters to come and join us at our Downing Street vigil or to attend or organise a local vigil to take place at the same time. Please keep checking this webpage to keep up to date with vigil plans.
Individuals planning to come along to the Downing St vigil should be aware that there will be media in attendance who may take and use photos of the crowd.
What is happening to specialist refuges across England?
Specialist 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.