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Nowhere to Turn - Women's Aid Report

13 JulUnhappy young woman using her phone.

The national domestic abuse awareness charity Women’s Aid recently released a report looking at the barriers that women face when trying to access refuge. This latest report is a follow up from the 2017 version, which found that the most vulnerable women were being failed largely due to underfunding. 264 women were supported and surveyed as part of the project which collected data from 12th January 2017 to 11th January 2018. Here’s a brief survey of the findings and recommendations. Read the full report on the Women’s Aid website.


Amongst the report’s key findings were these worrying statistics: 

  • 81% of the women supported by the caseworkers faced multiple barriers to accessing a refuge space. 
  • Over half of the women (53%) were tied to the local area, with BME (50%) and mental health (37%) also prominent additional support needs for the women supported. 
  • Just under half (46%) sofa-surfed whilst waiting for a place at refuge, whilst 12% slept rough. 
  • Local authorities have experienced a 40% cut to their budget since 2010. 


Women’s Aid made the following recommendations

  • There needs to be an increase in the number of refuge spaces made available to meet the demand nationally. 
  • A new model of sustainable funding for refuges is required. This funding needs to be separate from the “short-term” supported housing sector. 
  • Women with no recourse to public funds must not be discriminated against. Ways must be found for them to access support services. 
  • Training is needed for agencies and domestic abuse should be treated as a priority. 

Leeway’s Role

We continue to support Women’s Aid’s campaigns for a sustainable model of refuge funding, ensuring that the supply can meet the demand. The government have recently pledged an additional £19m to funding domestic abuse services until 2020, but it is unclear what will happen beyond that. 

Back in May, we submitted a response to the government’s consultation for their domestic abuse bill, providing honest feedback on the policies they plan to introduce, as well as offering guidance on what needs to be done to support those experiencing domestic abuse. The outcome of the consultation will hopefully give some indication of what lies ahead for refuge funding, although it may take a while before we learn the results due to delays and economic uncertainty caused by the ongoing Brexit negotiations.

You can help us raise funds for our services by getting involved in our regular fundraising events. For more information email admin@leewaynwa.org.uk.

For regular news of our fundraising events and other activities we are involve in, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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