SOS success: Women’s Aid welcomes the government’s commitment to fully exempt domestic violence refuges from two planned welfare reforms

Thursday 15th September 2016

This morning, in a triumph for the Women’s Aid SOS Campaign, and the Give Me Shelter campaign which we developed with The Sun, the government has announced that domestic violence refuges will be fully exempt from two planned welfare reforms – the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) cap on housing benefit rates in supported accommodation, and the requirement for social landlords to reduce rents by 1% each year from 2017-2020.

Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said:

“On behalf of our national membership network of domestic abuse services, we thank the government for this morning confirming that refuges will be exempt from changes to the housing benefit cap until 2019, and from the 1% rent reduction, which will ensure that refuges remain financially sustainable. We warmly welcome the news that the government will be working with Women’s Aid to develop a permanent sustainable solution to refuge funding that ensures that refuges do not see a reduction in current levels of funding. Refuges rely on housing benefit to cover, on average, 89% of their weekly housing costs –the money needed to fund buildings, maintenance and essential services. If the cap went ahead as planned, Women’s Aid warned that two thirds of refuges would be forced to close, and 87% would have not been able to provide the same level of service provision to protect women and children survivors of domestic abuse.

This announcement follows the call we made to government as part of our SOS Campaign to urgently exempt refuges from these devastating changes. We have been running the Campaign on behalf of our national network of members, who provide lifesaving services and the thousands of women and children experiencing domestic abuse they support. This news will save refuges that otherwise would have closed down, and save countless lives.”

Notes for editors

  1. This is a brilliant result for the SOS Campaign and we would really like to thank all the Campaign Champions and Women’s Aid members who have supported our Campaign. To find out more or become a Campaign Champion visit
  2. For more information on the campaign so far see
  3. For any further media enquiries, please contact our press office.

© 2015 Women's Aid Federation of England – Women’s Aid is a company limited by guarantee registered in England No: 3171880.

Women’s Aid is a registered charity in England No. 1054154

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