Campaigners have called for sustainable funding for refuges as the government publishes its draft domestic abuse bill today. Those accused of abusers will no longer be able to cross-examine their former partners in court under the landmark legislation which will also include a definition of abuse to include economic abuse and emotional control.
The campaign group Women’s Aid pointed out that some 21,084 referrals to all refuges in England were declined in 2017/18, ‘averaging over 400 referrals declined each week’. ‘For far too long, the response to domestic abuse has been a postcode lottery, with resources often focused on so-called “high risk” cases,’ commented the group’s chief exec Katie Ghose. ‘This is not good enough.’
Ghose said that their network of support was ‘struggling to meet demand’. ‘Uncertain, shoestring and diminishing budgets make their work harder every year. No woman and child should be turned away from the support they so desperately need. The domestic abuse bill has the potential to create a step change in the national response, to create a more effective approach to tackling domestic abuse; sustainable funding for our life-saving network of specialist support services must be at the centre of this if we are to make a real difference to survivors’ lives.’