MANY DOMESTIC VIOLENCE REFUGES AT RISK OF CLOSING DUE TO HOUSING BENEFIT CAP
According to the national domestic violence charity, Women’s Aid, “Two-thirds of women’s refuges in England are facing closure due to a change in the way housing benefit is paid to supported and sheltered housing”, the Guardian reports
Women who have been victims of domestic violence as well as their children are at risk of falling into the hands of their violent partners if the government caps housing benefit in the social sector at the same levels paid to private landlords. This would adversely affect the finances of refuges.
Women’s Aid- affiliated refuges conducted a survey on refuges which showed the following:
67% of refuges operating in England would be forced to close if they are not exempted from the reform and
87% of refuges would also be forced to reduce the support they give to families
The chief executive of Women’s Aid, Polly Neate, said:
“Refuges provide specialist support to help women and their children truly recover from domestic abuse, and rebuild their lives with a view to long-term independence.
“These women and children have been through enough, and they deserve better than services which are continually on the brink of closure.”
Patron of Women’s Aid England, Julie Walters also said:
“Refuges saves lives: it is as simple as that. The government must exempt them from these welfare reforms- or live with the consequences of more women being killed and more families traumatised by domestic abuse.
“Domestic abuse is a human rights issue, and women and children need the specialist support that refuges provide to reclaim their dignity and strength.”
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Responding to the DWP Consultation: Housing Benefit Reform - Supported Housing
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