Rocketing numbers of women denied a spot at a refuge over shortage of beds


THE NUMBER of abuse victims turned away from refuges because of a lack of beds rocketed by a third in a year, new stats reveal.

One in five women fleeing domestic abuse cannot get a bed because the system is under so much strain.

The system is under so much strain women are unable to get help

Some 4,823 people were not given shelter in 2018/19 because of a lack of space – the latest year which the government has stats for.

This shot up from 3,605 the year before, the Office for National Statistics revealed in figures recently slipped out.

Campaigners warned that the lives of women and kids are being put at risk because of the severe shortage of refuge spots.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer told HOAR the problem would only have got worse in the Covid lockdown.

He said: “Domestic abuse is a stain on our society and, tragically, lockdown has seen growing numbers of victims trapped in homes with an abuser.

“One woman being turned away from safe refuge is too many. For thousands to be denied support at this critical point, due to lack of space, is completely unacceptable. Lives are at risk.

“The Government must step up and protect those who have experienced the horror of domestic abuse from further danger.”

Nicki Norman, acting chief executive at Women’s Aid, said: “Time and again, the statistics make clear that women and children desperately need help from life-saving domestic abuse services.

“Covid-19 does not cause abuse – but the restrictions hand more power to perpetrators to further isolate, coerce, frighten and abuse survivors.

“The specialist domestic abuse sector was already struggling from cuts before the pandemic.

“Services face a cliff edge as Covid-19 emergency funding runs out.”

Sir Keir Starmer said lockdown had made the problem worse

Lisa King from the charity Refuge, said: “Lockdown has been a very challenging time for women who experience domestic abuse as they face periods of enforced isolation with abusive partners.

“More women are realising they don’t have to suffer in silence and are reaching out to Refuge to support.

“We need to see long-term, sustainable funding to ensure that no woman or child is turned away from accessing the support they need.”

Safeguarding Minister Victoria Atkins said: “We are acutely aware that for some people home is not a safe place and that the pandemic put those people in greater danger.

“That is why we are taking action, alongside our partners including the police, to better protect victims, bring perpetrators to justice, and learn from deaths to prevent future tragedies.

“Our Domestic Abuse Bill will bolster our response to domestic abuse on every level, strengthening protections for victims whilst also ensuring perpetrators feel the full force of the law.

“Last week, we also announced almost £11 million to boost domestic abuse services, on top of £30 million we committed earlier in the year.”

:: Anyone who needs support should contact Refuge’s National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247. Or visit