Why women’s domestic violence refuges are not local services

From Critical Social Policy

This article presents findings of a research project, quantifying, mapping and conceptualizing the journeys women make to escape domestic violence; journeys that often include accessing a women’s refuge. This analysis has highlighted that women stay put if they can, stay local if they do have to relocate, and only cross local authority boundaries if they have to. Currently, across England what is essentially regional or national provision is being left at the mercy of local decision-making. This article has argued that women’s domestic violence refuges are not just threatened by funding cuts, they are threatened by a lack of recognition of how, why and where women need refuges as part of their safety strategies to escape violence.

Abstract

In a context of localism and public sector cuts in the United Kingdom, women’s domestic violence refuges are experiencing funding cuts and service restrictions. This article presents findings of a research project, quantifying, mapping and conceptualising the journeys women make to escape domestic violence; journeys that often include accessing a women’s refuge. Analysing administrative, survey and interview data it provides evidence of women travelling from everywhere to all types of places to access refuges, and that refuges are distinctively accessed across local authority boundaries. As a result, it is argued that women’s refuges should not be considered, planned and funded as local services; but as regional and national services, hosted locally.

 

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Article details
Janet C. Bowstead
Why women’s domestic violence refuges are not local services
Critical Social Policy August 2015 35: 327-349, first published on June 3, 2015 doi:10.1177/0261018315588894

 

 

     
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