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press@refuge.org.uk | 0207 395 7731 | 07970 894240 (out of hours)

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Press releases

Response to the release of the ONS annual domestic abuse statistics
Response to the release of the ONS annual domestic abuse statistics

London 25 November 2019: Refuge, the UK’s largest domestic violence charity, responds to the release of the ONS annual domestic abuse statistics. In response to the release of the ONS annual domestic abuse statistics, Sandra Horley CBE, Chief Executive of the national domestic abuse charity Refuge said: These statistics should serve as a serious wake-up call to the future Government that domestic abuse is a major crime in this country and must be top of the political agenda. ‘It is clear that the likelihood of women and girls experiencing domestic abuse at some point in their lives is increasing. This is devastating news given this time last year we knew 1 in 4 women would experience domestic abuse – this figure is edging towards 1 in 3. Alarmingly, incidents of domestic sexual assault are also increasing. This rise is set against a backdrop of lower conviction rates. These statistics are a national travesty. ‘The only way to address violence against women and girls is to prioritise legislation which gives domestic abuse national attention, works to reduce the numbers whilst increasing funding and the number of specialist services to which women can turn to for support. Refuge calls on the future Government to bring the Domestic Abuse Bill back to parliament, and to work towards its swift passage into law. Women’s lives depend on it.’ For more information, please email press@refuge.org.uk or call 0207 395 7731.

Response to media coverage of Grace Millane's death
Response to media coverage of Grace Millane's death

Refuge, the UK’s largest domestic violence charity, responds to media coverage of Grace Millane's death. In response to the ongoing press coverage concerning Grace Millane's death, Sandra Horley CBE, Chief Executive of the national domestic abuse charity Refuge said: 'Refuge is shocked and saddened by the recent coverage of the murder trial of Grace Millane. It is reckless and irresponsible to frame her death as anything other than the result of grievous violence, perpetrated by a sexual partner. Her sexual preferences are irrelevant and need to be removed from any discussion surrounding the circumstances of her death. Of course, Grace cannot challenge or rebut the assertions being made about her, as the man making them has taken her life. "The narrative being pursued serves only to normalise violence against women and girls, instead of addressing and challenging it. What message is this sending young women – that sexual violence is their fault? That their sexual history will be used against them? That they might be told they were asking for it? "Whilst this trial took place in New Zealand, we have seen several similar cases in England and Wales this year. The law clearly needs to change. Refuge is calling for the next Government to put an end to the ‘rough sex’ defence and ensure that no woman is ever blamed for her killer’s actions. Only then will the rest of society begin to see sexual violence and murder for what it is – an unacceptable crime for which there is no excuse." For more information, please email press@refuge.org.uk or call 0207 395 7731.

Refuge responds to Queens Speech and Domestic Abuse
Refuge responds to Queens Speech and Domestic Abuse

“We are pleased that the Domestic Abuse Bill remains firmly on the Governments agenda for the upcoming parliamentary session. This is testament to the hard work of many across the sector and to the many survivors of domestic abuse who have been willing to talk about the horrific abuse they have experienced, in anticipation of helping to secure change.

Refuge response to Domestic Abuse Bill second reading
Refuge response to Domestic Abuse Bill second reading

In response to the second reading of the Domestic Abuse Bill today, Sandra Horley CBE, Chief Executive of national Domestic Abuse charity Refuge said: “Refuge is pleased that Robert Buckland presented the Domestic Abuse Bill for its second reading in Parliament today. This Bill is many years in the making and the product of incredibly hard work across the sector. The Bill has the potential to transform the response to domestic abuse -  but to be effective, Refuge hopes to work with Government to make sure the Bill goes further. Statutory funding for refuges is essential. Women must be able to flee their violent partners and find safety. The Bill must ensure that domestic abuse survivors are in priority need for housing, and must end the ‘postcode lottery’ of support so everyone, regardless of their immigration status, is able to reach safety and access the help they need. Refuge supports more than 6,500 women on any given day. Two women every week across England and Wales are killed by their former or current partner. We are hopeful that Government will cement its commitment to addressing violence against women and girls by making sure this Bill becomes law with minimal delay. “ Spokespeople available on request. Please contact the press office on press@refuge.org.uk or call 0207 395 7731.

Refuge responds to announcement of Domestic Abuse Bill second reading
Refuge responds to announcement of Domestic Abuse Bill second reading

In response to the announcement today that the Government intends to bring forward a second reading of the Domestic Abuse Bill to next week, Sandra Horley CBE, Chief Executive of the national domestic abuse charity Refuge said: 'Refuge is delighted that the Government has today announced that the Domestic Abuse Bill will progress to second reading in parliament. Domestic abuse is the biggest issue affecting women and children in our society and this legislation represents an unparalleled once in a lifetime opportunity to save lives. In England and Wales, two women are killed every week by a current or former partner. Women and children have a right to live in safety. On any given day, Refuge supports over 6,500 survivors of domestic abuse. The Domestic Abuse Bill has the potential to transform the response to domestic abuse. We hope the Bill will enact meaningful change for survivors of abuse and commit to five key provisions: funding for specialist services and a legal duty to fund accommodation-based domestic abuse services; a gendered definition of domestic abuse, which reflects that women make up the overwhelming majority of victims; reforms to aspects of Universal Credit that encourage economic abuse by perpetrators; ensuring all survivors have priority need for housing; and changes to immigration law so that migrant survivors can access protection more easily. Refuge looks forward to working closely with the Government to ensure survivors receive the justice and support they deserve.’ For more information, please email press@refuge.org.uk or call 0207 395 7731.

Refuge responds to appointment of first Domestic Abuse Commissioner
Refuge responds to appointment of first Domestic Abuse Commissioner

Sandra Horley CBE, Chief Executive of national domestic abuse charity Refuge said: ‘We are delighted with the appointment of Nicole Jacobs as the UKs first Domestic Abuse Commissioner. Nicole has a terrific history of championing women’s rights and supporting survivors. Having had the pleasure of working with Nicole here at Refuge and her work at Standing Together we believe she will do a brilliant job and will ensure survivors and their needs are front and centre of her new role. We now need to see assurances from the Government however that, as previously promised, they will legislate for this role in the Domestic Abuse Bill and make sure it has the powers and money needed to make a real difference.’ For more information, please email press@refuge.org.uk or call 0207 395 7731.

Refuge responds to domestic homicide stats
Refuge responds to domestic homicide stats

In response to the domestic homicide statistics released today, Sandra Horley CBE, Chief Executive of national domestic abuse charity Refuge said: 'These statistics are truly horrifying. Domestic violence is a national travesty and the biggest issue facing women and girls worldwide. At Refuge we know only too well what happens when violence against women and girls goes unchallenged, and these statistics should be a wakeup call for politicians and the criminal justice system. Now more than ever, violence against women and girls must be taken seriously. But change will not happen without pressure, and we know that women and girls depend on us to keep pushing for action. To put it simply, without the necessary action to address violence against women and girls, these appalling statistics are unlikely to be reduced. However, there are immediate measures that the Government can take. These measures need to ensure that women can reach safety quickly - for example by committing statutory funding to refuges. This would be a welcome first step in ensuring that women fleeing domestic abuse are able escape from violent partners. There is a straightforward route to addressing violence against women and girls, and prioritising the safety of survivors. We hope the government will stick to its welcome commitment and ensure that the Domestic Abuse Bill is given priority in the Queen’s Speech, along with a clear and simple agenda for its passage into law. We know that the Bill has the ability to transform how violence against women and girls is addressed, and we hope that the Prime Minister will reaffirm this when Parliament reconvenes next month.' For more information, please email press@refuge.org.uk or call 0207 395 7731.

Refuge responds to homelessness statistics
Refuge responds to homelessness statistics

Responding to the release of statistics on homelessness, Sandra Horley CBE, Chief Executive of national domestic abuse charity Refuge said: 'Between April 2018 and March 2019, more than 22 thousand survivors had to leave their homes as a result of domestic abuse. This is a shocking statistic and one which reaffirms what we already know: that statutory funding for refuges must increase, and those fleeing domestic abuse must be granted priority housing status. As the law currently stands, fleeing domestic abuse does not automatically qualify you as being in urgent need of rehousing. This is unacceptable and in some cases can mean a survivor of domestic abuse having to choose between staying with the perpetrator or facing homelessness. This is not a choice any survivor should be forced to make. There is a straightforward way that the government can ensure domestic abuse survivors are not faced with such a choice. The Domestic Abuse Bill, currently on hold while Parliament is suspended, must, as indicated by the Prime Minister today, be prioritised in the Queen’s Speech, and a clear timetable for its passage into law with minimal delay must be laid out. The Domestic Abuse Bill has the potential to save lives and transform the response to violence against women and girls. But it must ensure that survivors of domestic abuse are recognised as being in priority housing need and get access to the housing they desperately need to stay safe. We look forward to working with the government to make this a reality.' For more information, please email press@refuge.org.uk or call 0207 395 7731.

Response to CPS Violence Against Women and Girls report
Response to CPS Violence Against Women and Girls report

Refuge responds to Crown Prosecution Service Violence Against Women and Girls report. In response to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) report, Sandra Horley, Chief Executive of national domestic abuse charity Refuge said: ‘These statistics are sadly not a surprise - but they are nonetheless extremely disappointing. More and more women are reporting rape, yet numbers of prosecutions and convictions have reduced dramatically. What kind of message does this send to women and girls? That they won’t be believed? That their experiences are will be trivialised? That their voices are not valid? Additionally, there has been a large decline of more than 11% for completed domestic abuse prosecutions, even though more and more women are reporting domestic abuse to the police. With one in every four women experiencing domestic abuse in their lifetime, these figures show that the criminal justice system is continuing to fail women. With a reduced hope of seeing their perpetrators prosecuted for their crimes, women are likely to become increasingly unconfident to call the police, and will be disempowered when they should be supported. Women have a right to be safe and the authorities have a legal duty to protect them. We have a real chance to address violence against women and girls with the upcoming Domestic Abuse Bill and we will be looking to the Government to ensure that the Bill is a priority in the Queens speech and that a clear pathway is set out for its passage into law. With these figures released today, we know that women’s lives depend on radical action and we look forward to working with the Government to deliver systemic change.' For more information, please email press@refuge.org.uk or call 0207 395 7731.

Geoffrey Boycott statement
Geoffrey Boycott statement

Responding to the news that Geoffrey Boycott has been awarded a knighthood, Sandra Horley CBE, Chief Executive of national domestic abuse charity Refuge said: “The news that Geoffrey Boycott has been awarded a knighthood is shocking and disappointing. It also sends an extremely concerning message: that violence against women and girls is tolerated, and even rewarded. Across the UK two women every week are killed by a current or former partner, and one in four women experiences domestic violence at some time in their life. Awarding an honour to a man convicted of domestic violence serves to trivialise and normalise domestic abuse, making a mockery of attempts to address it. Refuge hopes that this knighthood will be revoked with immediate effect. This would go some way towards acknowledging the seriousness of this error, and would also send a clear signal to society that violence against women and girls must stop.” For more information, please email press@refuge.org.uk or call 0207 395 7731.