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Vera Baird QC welcomes Government u-turn to exempt refuges from benefit cuts

20th September 2016

Vera Baird QC, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner and Chair of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, has welcomed the Government’s announcement to exempt domestic abuse refuges from planned welfare reform and to work with partners on a sustainable funding solution.

In a written statement to the House of Commons, Damian Green, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, announced that refuges will now be exempt from the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) cap on housing benefit rates for those in social housing until 2019 when a new funding regime for these essential refuges will be introduced.

This u-turn comes following calls by Vera Baird for the Government to end its delays and uncertainty around the future funding of domestic abuse refuges, fully backing Women’s Aid’s campaign to make refuges, and other forms of supported accommodation, exempt from Government plans to cap this benefit.

Vera Baird QC, said: “It has been a long time coming but this is finally a welcome change of heart by the Government – the threat of cutting funding for such vital services should never have got this far.

“Refuges are at the heart of the Home Office’s Violence Against Women and Girls strategy – yet their own plans could have essentially wiped many of them out.

“Domestic abuse is a very real problem and tackling it should be an absolute priority. The development of a long term, sustainable solution is long overdue and this is definitely a step in the right direction for ensuring vulnerable women and children who are fleeing domestic abuse are provided with sanctuary from the threatening, abusive or violent behaviour they are suffering.

“As ever I want to reassure victims that Northumbria Police and support agencies are on hand to help them take the first step to changing their lives and protecting their children from any further harm. Help is there and I urge anyone with any concerns to seek it – they will be listened to and helped to safety.”

For more information about domestic abuse visit For independent and confidential advice call 0800 066 5555. To contact Northumbria Police to report a crime call 101 or 999 in an emergency.