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 not only fought off disastrous planned funding reforms, but successfully secured a further investment of £53 million until 2020.
This increased funding has supported many refuges to stay open and bolstered provision at many others. But sadly refuges are still lurching from crisis to crisis.
Since 2016, Women’s Aid has been opposing risky proposals to the future of funding for rent in refuges. The government proposed to withdraw housing benefit – the last secure form of funding for our services – and replace it with a system that we warned would dismantle the national network of refuges and put the lives of women and children trying to escape domestic abuse at risk.
With the support of survivors, our member services and hundreds of thousands of people we have fought off these changes.
In August 2018, the government committed to keep refuges in housing benefit, and keep the doors of these life-saving services open for the women and children who so desperately need them.
But the campaign is far from over.
We must now ensure funding for the support refuges provide to a survivor and her children – from therapy to help with housing and finances – is secure. The government has shown great commitment to refuges but, unless a long-term, sustainable funding solution is secured, we fear that the positive action, and millions of pounds invested, to keep them open will be completely undermined.
Women’s Aid commissioned expert consultants to work with us to design a funding model that will protect the future of these life saving services. You can read the report detailing the funding approach here and over the coming months we will be working hard to further develop this model and finally put in place a funding model that will secure the future of these services.
We are issuing an urgent SOS call to government to deliver a sustainable funding model and save refuges, save lives.
Why refuges are so important: Real stories
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