News & Opinion

The Sun on Sunday's 'Save our Shelters' campaign scores victory after government U-turn

The government announces U-turn on funding for at risk domestic violence refuges.

Housing benefit for users of short-term supported housing will remain in place to fund this accommodation - saving as many as half of existing refuges, for whom housing benefit is the main source of income.

The Sun on Sunday's support helped a petition against the original decision to withdraw housing benefits from shelter users reach more than 175,000 signatures. In 2016 some 13,000 women sought refuge from domestic violence in shelters, with police recording nearly 100 calls an hour relating to domestic abuse.

The campaign ran across the Sunday paper over several months from December 2017 and was supported by a number of public figures including Dame Julie Walters as well as Labour MP Stella Creasy.

Women's Aid said on Twitter: "Thanks to @TheSun on Sunday for their continued support for saving refuges with the #SaveOurShelters campaign. Massive thank you to Sharon Hendry & Victoria Newton & all of the survivors who helped us to raise awareness, including @goldylonglocks @CoCoAwareness @C_Kneer #wedidit"

Victoria Newton, editor of The Sun on Sunday, commented: "This is an incredibly important day for the victims of domestic violence who were at risk of losing their last-resort. We are delighted that the government has listened to Women's Aid, other charities, MPs and The Sun on Sunday's readers to reverse their decision."

Katie Ghose, chief executive of Women's Aid, added: "Today Women's Aid is delighted the government has listened and acted to keep refuge doors open for survivors of domestic abuse. Rent in refuges will continue to be funded through housing benefit. This will be warmly welcomed by survivors and our member services; housing benefit makes up, on average, around half of a refuge's income.

"Domestic abuse refuges save lives."

by Jessie Sampson 09/08/18

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