A charity has warned that women escaping domestic abuse face the risk of homelessness due to a lack of refuge bed spaces.
A new study by Women’s Aid shows that the charity has supported 309 women over the last year who were left with nowhere to go as they fled domestic abuse.
In the last year, 136 (44%) of these women sofa-surfed and 42 (14%) stayed in local authority emergency accommodation.
The report, entitled Nowhere to Turn, also found that 22 (7%) slept rough and 12 (4%) stayed in a B&B, hostel or hotel.
This year’s Annual Audit from Women’s Aid’s found that there was a lack of refuge bed spaces where survivors of domestic abuse can stay.
There was, the charity discovered, a shortfall of spaces in England of 1,715.
The audit also revealed that 57% of domestic abuse service providers were running an area of their service with no dedicated funding and 31% reported that since 2014 they have had to make staff cuts due to reduced funding.
The No Women Turned Away report, which was launched yesterday, discovered that while waiting for a refuge space, 59 women (19%) experienced further abuse from their perpetrator.
Of the 17 women who were interviewed in depth, two attempted to kill themselves.
‘It’s scandalous that, in 2019, women fleeing domestic abuse still face the terrifying prospect of either returning to their perpetrator or facing homelessness,’ said Adina Claire, acting co-chief executive of Women’s Aid.
‘We are facing a chronic shortage of bed spaces in specialist refuge services, and this is causing unimaginable suffering for women at a time when they are most in need of support.’