Women’s Aid has warned that due to funding gaps domestic violence services to help female victims are at “breaking point”.
The charity have said that one day in 2013 saw 155 women and 103 children turned away from refuges in England. They believe the government could reduce the number of women and children hurt and killed by ensuring services are adequately funded.
Ministers say that they have “ring-fenced” £40m to fund “specialist local support services and national helplines”, reports the BBC.
Women’s Aid have published the results of its annual survey and found that:
· Across 150 organisations that responded, 112 specialist posts were lost in 2013/2013 with the majority due to cuts in funding
· Some 9,577 women and 10,117 children were given refuge accommodation last year by responding organisations
· On the survey’s “snapshot” day – 27 June 2013 – 155 women and 103 children were turned away from the first refuge they approached
Women’s Aid chief executive Polly Neate said: “Specialist gender-specific domestic violence services are reaching a breaking point. Over 1.2 million women were estimated to have experienced domestic violence last year and two women a week are killed by perpetrators.”
She said the government had “an opportunity to significantly reduce the number of women and children hurt and killed by violent partners by ensuring adequate funding for the sector. If it is not, the safety net for women experiencing domestic violence in England will fall through, leaving even more women and children to be harmed and killed by people they should be able to trust.”
She added: “We cannot afford to lose the services we have spent 40 years building up. We cannot afford to lose the experience of those who work in the sector and we cannot afford to lose the ties these services have to their communities.”
The charity has said it is crucial “any new arrangements in welfare reform do not result in refuge services losing rental income and so facing closure”.
A Home Office spokesperson, said: “Domestic violence shatters lives and we need to do everything possible to prevent this dreadful crime. This government has ring-fenced nearly £40m of funding for specialist local support services and national helplines to help people escape abusive situations. We have also rolled out Clare’s Law, domestic violence protection orders and extended the definition of domestic abuse to include 16 and 17-year-olds.”
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