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Minister see first hand the valuable work done at domestic abuse centres

PUBLISHED: 11:33 11 July 2019

From left to right: Sophie Francis-Cansfield, Campaign Officer, Women's Aid Federation of England  Constanze Sen, CEO, BCWA Marta Righetti, Business Development Manager, BCWA Lucy Pleass, Director of Operations, BCWA Heather Wheeler MP, Minister for Housing & Homelessness Jane Ward, Chair, BCWA and Amy Wareham, Trustee, BCWA

From left to right: Sophie Francis-Cansfield, Campaign Officer, Women's Aid Federation of England Constanze Sen, CEO, BCWA Marta Righetti, Business Development Manager, BCWA Lucy Pleass, Director of Operations, BCWA Heather Wheeler MP, Minister for Housing & Homelessness Jane Ward, Chair, BCWA and Amy Wareham, Trustee, BCWA

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A charity that runs a string of vital refuges for survivors of domestic abuse has been praised by a government minister during a flying visit.

The minister for housing and homelessness viewed the domestic abuse refuge and met survivors of domestic abuse when she visited Bromley and Croydon Women's Aid.

The charity runs nine refuges across the area offering a range of outreach and prevention services for women and children who are victims of domestic abuse.

Heather Wheeler MP and her delegation spent an hour in a local refuge where seven women and their children live after fleeing domestic abuse.

They said this visit follows the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government proposal to place a new statutory duty on local authorities to commission domestic abuse refuges.

Domestic abuse survivors shared their experience of domestic abuse and moving into refuge with the minister.

Women-only refuges and the specialist support provided by the charity's staff and volunteers are a lifeline for women and children when they make the brave decision to leave their perpetrators.

The visit also provided an opportunity to discuss the future of domestic abuse refuges.

Women's Aid shared the importance of ring-fencing funding for specialist local organisations, to ensure that the voice of survivors is heard and that positive outcomes are achieved for all women and children regardless of their circumstances.

Bromley and Croydon Women's Aid CEO Constanze Sen said: "With two women being murdered by current and former partners in England and Wales every week, domestic abuse refuges provide a life-saving service and support to thousands of women and children every year.

"Over 130 women and 150 children lived at our refuges in 2018 alone.

"We are pleased we could show Heather Wheeler and her staff a refuge and the amazing work our staff do day in day out."

She added: "In the current funding climate, we welcome the government's proposal to end the postcode lottery for survivors. However, we want to ensure that the government understand the importance of investing on specialist provision and ring-fencing local funding, to retain know-how and meet survivors' needs."

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