Southend Labour calls for a re-think on domestic violence sanctuaries

Southend Labour is pressing the council to think again about the proposal to cut funding for residential safe havens in the town for women who suffer domestic violence.

We know that domestic abuse is an all too common issue in Southend as elsewhere. Across the country, on average two women are killed every week by their partner or ex-partner.

The closure of safe refuges is a national issue. Since 2010, 17% of specialist women's refuges have closed, and a third of all referrals to them are turned away, normally due to a lack of available space.

Women fleeing domestic violence understandably may travel some distance, and often will not end up in a refuge within their own council area. This is why we need a national system of funding for women's refuges. If councils across the country de-fund refuges on the grounds that they will largely cater to people from outside that council's area, we will end up in a situation where there are no safe spaces for people in danger.

Cllr Cheryl Nevin says: "We are asking the council to think again about this funding decision. We need to understand what the implications are for the refuges in town and the women who currently use them. We want to know what the implications are for women in danger of domestic abuse in the town. We believe that the council should maintain funding whilst pressing the government for a fairer national system."

Opposition councillors were not consulted before the council's announcement on refuge funding.

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