close

Majority of domestic violence refuge centres are not accessible to disabled people

Support-for-disabled-women-685-13-Xmas14-7543

Only one-tenth of domestic violence refuge spaces in the UK are fully accessible to people with physical disabilities, according to a BBC investigation.

Twenty of the 131 councils that responded to Freedom of Information requests from the BBC reported that they had no wheelchair accessible space.

Some local authorities, including Carmarthenshire and Solihull, said all of their refuge spaces were accessible to people with a physical disability.

Story continues below
Advertisement

However, the majority said less than 20% of their spaces were.

The investigation comes after an ONS report last week which suggested women with disabilities are more likely to experience domestic violence than those without.

The report said that 16.8% of women with long-term illnesses or disabilities were subjected to domestic abuse, compared to 6.3% of women without a disability.

In an interview with the BBC, a centre manager said: “If we can’t do something to try and create a space that welcomes those women, and keep those women as safe as the women without a disability, it is going to be a missed opportunity.”

“Sometimes if you’ve worked with somebody for three or four weeks, and you still haven’t found anything and you’re phoning them up saying, ‘ever so sorry, but there’s no space again now,’ it can be very upsetting.”

Council funding for women’s refuges has reduced by 6% overall in the last five years according to data from 144 out of 210 UK councils contacted.

The largest cuts to council spending on domestic violence refuges were made by Southampton City Council, whose funding for domestic violence refuges has reduced by 65% since 2013/4.

Other councils including Newcastle upon Tyne and Darlington have increased spending on domestic violence refuges by more than 150%.

Tags : accessibilitybbcdomestic violencerefuge centresvulnerablewomen
Carly Hacon

The author Carly Hacon

Leave a Response