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Commissioner Joins Protest Against Cuts to Refuges

19th November 2014

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird is backing the protest against cuts to refuges for domestic violence victims.

This week (Thursday, 20 November) Women’s Aid is delivering a petition to 10 Downing Street calling on the Government to ‘Save Our Services’.

It is calling for more to be done to protect the world leading network of specialist refuges in England and seeking the Government’s commitment to preserving this network.

The Commissioner said: “These refuges are vital support to people who need to escape from sometimes life-threatening domestic violence.

“My Police and Crime Plan has made sexual and domestic abuse a priority for the force and we’ve rightly spent time and effort encouraging people to report incidents to those in a position to help them, but this will be for nothing if there is no where for these people to go once they have taken this huge step towards safety.

“People suffering from this violence need support and practical help to get over this oppression which they may have suffered for years and these under-threat refuges help provide this.”

The Commissioner said the Government had to commit to preserving the national network of specialist refuges and look to a new model of funding and commissioning to support this high-quality sustainable service.

Mrs Baird added: “Closing these essential refuges could ultimately cost lives and we must all do everything within our powers to protect the vital services they provide.”

Figures from Women’s Aid show the level of the crisis with 48% of 167 domestic violence services in England saying they were running services without funding.

“Something must be done now before the situation gets even worse,” the Commissioner said.