Housing benefit cap could be ‘very dangerous’ for women’s refuges, charity warns

15:08 12 September 2016

Refuges provide a safe haven for victims of domestic abuse

Refuges provide a safe haven for victims of domestic abuse


A benefit cap could force 67 per cent of women’s refuges to close

A new cap on housing benefit could be ‘very dangerous’ for a charity that provides refuges for victims of domestic abuse in the borough.

Bromley and Croydon Women’s Aid caters for 42 women and up to 60 children in seven refuges, but plans to cap housing benefit in the social sector at the same levels paid to private landlords could threaten its existence.

Research by Women’s Aid released last week revealed 67 per cent of refuge centres operating in England could be forced to close if the benefit cap were introduced.

A high-profile campaign by several media outlets has brought it to the public’s attention, but an exemption for domestic refuges has still not been confirmed.

Management assistant and fundraising officer Marta Righetti said: “There is a really high demand because one in four women suffer domestic abuse.

“On a day when we have a space, once we have accepted someone we have to turn away three or four a day. It is very difficult.

“There is a very small window of time for those affected by abuse to leave their house. This benefit cap would be very dangerous.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn quizzed prime minister Theresa May on the issue in the House of Commons last week, and the PM said the government was looking at exemptions for refuges.

“It is very good news they are working on something, but we still need long-term funding because there have been a lot of cuts,” Ms Righetti added. “A lot of people are still looking for refuge and there are fewer and fewer of them in the country.

“We deal with any kind of abuse, not just physical - it can be emotional or financial. We risk assess people and provide targeted interventions.

Women’s Aid’s report reveals that housing benefit covers 90 per cent of rental costs and service charges for some refuges, and a benefit cap would significantly reduce the amount of money available to them.

Ms Righetti pointed out that the introduction of a benefit cap could lead some women to remain in abusive relationships.

“We are one of the lucky boroughs, but we are always full,” she added.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Bromley Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Bromley Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Bromley Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest news

Yesterday, 14:42

Mark Barnard also contacted a relative of the victim

Thu, 14:22

A talk is being held to commemorate those who made a stand against compulsary military service at Bromley Methodist Church

Thu, 10:03

He has led the force’s response to international terrorism and overseen a fall in crime

Thu, 09:00

They say they are unable to open their windows as a result of the pollution

Most read


If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

As we grow older it becomes more and more important to have means to travel about safely and quickly. Our friendship groups and families grow and the need to have a car that is not only safe but also fast and big enough for all our needs is ever more important. There are many cars on the market for such needs but none deals with them as efficiently or as neatly as a VW Golf Estate. These cars are build strong, long lasting and spacious for a reason. They cater to the needs of many and are some of the most popular cars currently on the market.

Digital Edition

Read the Bromley Times e-edition today E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up


Show Job Lists

Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder