Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping is calling on the government for reassurances following continuing uncertainty about funding for domestic violence refuge services.
As thousands of families prepare to wake up in domestic violence refuges this Christmas, the PCC will be writing to Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerabilities Minister Victoria Atkins over the festive season to warn of the importance of protecting crisis services which save thousands of lives every year.
Many victims of domestic violence flee across county boundaries to protect their safety and reduce the risk of reprisal. This means investment and funding must be available nationwide to cope with increasing demand for spaces, said the PCC.
“At a time when domestic violence and abuse typically spikes over the festive period, I’m asking the government to prioritise this issue and give all local authorities the certainty and the investment they need to protect vulnerable people in the future,” said Mr Tipping.
“Christmas is a particularly challenging time of year for our domestic violence support services. Financial pressures, excess alcohol and more time spent at home can trigger violence in a relationship.
“Many desperate victims will seek crisis support for the first time in their lives and it is vital that help is available for all who seek it. Lives literally depend upon it.
“The festive period is an opportune time to raise this issue and I will be seeking assurances from the government of its intention to preserve the national network of specialist refuges in this country and secure long-term sustainable funding to continue their lifesaving work.”
Charity Women’s Aid says on a typical day in the UK, 94 women and 90 children were turned away from refuge while 60% of all referrals to refuges were declined in 2016-17, mostly as a result of a lack of available space.
Nottinghamshire recently accessed additional funding to support the work of its refuges which has helped to safeguard refuge spaces.
Mr Tipping added: “Refuge accommodation is the light at the end of a very long tunnel. It represents freedom and safety and the very first steps of recovery.
“We owe it to these brave victims to give them every opportunity of rebuilding their lives and protecting their families from future harm.”
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Posted on Wednesday 26th December 2018