Jade Jackman

the uk government backtracks on plan to remove women’s refuges from welfare system

Ministers had proposed scrapping housing benefit as a means of funding for the life-saving services.

by Matthew Whitehouse
13 August 2018, 11:13am

Jade Jackman

https://i-d.vice.com/en_uk/art...The government has ditched plans to change the way in which women’s refuges are funded, scrapping a controversial move that would have seen the short-term housing removed from the welfare system.

The plans -- which intended to put a halt to women paying for the accommodation using housing benefit -- had been met with fierce criticism by women’s charities and campaigners, who claimed the move would put women and children in danger. The U-turn, announced by Housing Minister Kit Malthouse MP on Thursday, followed findings by domestic violence charity Women's Aid, who warned that as many as 600 beds could have been at risk.

“Today Women’s Aid is delighted the government has listened and acted to keep refuge doors open for survivors of domestic abuse,” said the charity’s Chief Executive, Katie Ghose. “Rent in refuges will continue to be funded through housing benefit. This will be warmly welcomed by survivors and our member services -- housing benefit makes up, on average, around half of a refuge’s income.”

According to the Office for National Statistics, two women are killed each week by a current or former partner in England and Wales. With that in mind, Katie believes the refuges will provide “a real lifeline for thousands of women and children experiencing abuse at home”.

“Today the government has taken decisive action to protect refuges’ last guaranteed form of funding,” she says. “They must now work with us to ensure that funding for the support refuges provide for survivors is also secure.”

If you are worried about your relationship or that of a friend or family member, you can contact the Freephone 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline, run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge, on 0808 2000 247 or visit www.womensaid.org.uk .

domestic violence
women's aid
Women's Refuge
welfare system