Grant cuts to the Women’s Refuge for victims of domestic violence must be reversed if the refuge is to maintain its vital 24/7 service, says a States Deputy.
The annual grant to the Women’s Refuge was cut by a quarter by the Health department over 2014 and 2015 – and Deputy Steve Luce says that decision threatens the future of the service and will potentially leave women and children at risk.
The refuge was set up 26 years ago as a safe place for women who are victims of domestic violence, and the staff – including dedicated volunteers – work with the police, the health service and GPs.
Funding was reduced for this year and next year, but Deputy Luce says that the reduction leaves the refuge facing an annual £200,000 shortfall to meet its running costs, and having to consider the prospect of ending their 24/7 service.
Deputy Luce said: “Women find leaving home difficult, especially when children are involved.
“Their loyalty to a partner often makes them vulnerable, often leaving them and their children in danger.
“If this essential and safe place is not available, where will they receive expert help and support in a totally secure environment how can they receive help?
“The committee which runs this essential charity, now in its 26th year, feels the responsibility keenly, not only to abused women and children, but also to those highly trained staff and volunteers dedicated to their care.
“How can Health and Social Services and Home Affairs, both part of an intense drive to safeguard victims and reduce domestic violence, cut the funding by a quarter for the only safe place for women and children to go when home becomes a genuinely dangerous place to live?”
His proposition is listed for debate on 9 September.
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