Women’s Aid responds to Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council announcing the closure of its only women’s refuge

Lucy Hadley, head of policy at Women’s Aid, comments:  

“We are incredibly concerned about the Council’s justification for closing Bournemouth’s only women’s refuge. It is simply not true that Government guidance recommends that local authorities move away from communal refuge services – where women and their children escaping domestic abuse share facilities while accessing physical and emotional safety and wraparound support. We know from our work with survivors that the peer support that women give each other within a refuge is an essential part of the service, supporting them to recover and start rebuilding their lives.  


“The Domestic Abuse Act requires local authorities to fund support in safe accommodation for victims of domestic abuse. The guidance supporting these duties is clear that local authorities should fund support in a range of types of accommodation – including refuges – and encourages councils to consider a range of accommodation types to meet victims’ needs. It also specifically recognises the critical role of refuges in providing support and safety for victims at the highest risk of serious harm. 


“We are contacting Bournemouth , Christchurch and Poole Council to urge them to retract this worrying and incorrect justification for the refuge’s closure. We are also deeply concerned to read the reports of trauma and fear that women and children living in the Bournemouth Women’s Refuge are facing at the prospect of being evicted in July, with nowhere to go. Our data shows there is a 22% shortfall in the recommended number of refuge spaces in England and we know women and children escaping domestic abuse are turned away daily from the lifesaving support they need, often experiencing homelessness and unsuitable temporary accommodation as a result.” 

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