Since September 2014, we have been calling on the government to Save Our Services by committing to preserving the national network of specialist refuges through exploring and securing a new model of national refuge funding and commissioning.
On just one day in 2017, 94 women and 90 children were turned away from refuge. 60% of all referrals to refuges were declined in 2016-17, normally due to a lack of available space.
Our world-leading network of specialist refuges is at risk when still two women a week, on average, are killed in England and Wales by a partner or former partner. Women’s Aid is leading the SOS Campaign to secure a long term funding solution for life-saving services.
The campaign so far
The campaign has successfully secured a further investment of £33 million until 2018. This increased funding has supported many refuges to stay open and bolstered provision at many others. But refuges are still lurching from crisis to crisis.
In September 2016 Women’s Aid opposed welfare reforms that would have forced two thirds of refuges to close down and we are continuing to raise awareness and call for urgent action on the impact of other welfare reform on survivors of domestic abuse. We have welcomed the Government’s decision to exempt refuges from the changes, and will now holding them accountable to their promise of a new, sustainable model of funding for these life-saving services.
In October 2017 the government launched plans for the future of refuge funding in 2020 which Women’s Aid are warning will dismantle the national network of refuges and put the lives of women and children trying to escape domestic abuse at risk. Our survey of refuge services has shown the proposed new model of funding would force over half of refuges responding to close or reduce their provision – resulting in 4000 more women and children turned away from the lifesaving services they desperately need. Read our briefing on these proposed changes.
The Government has shown great commitment to refuges, but unless a long-term, sustainable funding solution is secured, we fear that the millions of pounds invested to keen them open will be completely undermined.
We are issuing an urgent SOS call to government to rethink these proposals and save refuges, save lives.
Why refuges are so important: Real stories
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