Press Release

19 December 2019

Refuge responds to Queens Speech

Ahead of the Queen’s Speech today, Sandra Horley CBE, Chief Executive of national domestic abuse charity Refuge said:

“Refuge eagerly awaits the Queen’s Speech, which will outline the Government’s agenda for the upcoming parliamentary session. It provides a new opportunity for the Government to reaffirm its commitment to ending violence against women and girls by reintroducing and strengthening the Domestic Abuse Bill. This is needed now more than ever.

“The Bill is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the response to domestic abuse, but was unfortunately waylaid due to the snap election. Refuge hopes that the Speech will include the Bill, which we hope to see strengthened, and passed with minimal delay. A renewed Bill that ensures survivors are prioritised for housing, that the welfare system properly supports survivors, migrant women receive adequate protection, and includes a gendered definition of domestic abuse, is essential if the Government is to enact meaningful change for survivors of abuse.

“Refuge also hopes that the Queen’s Speech will establish the Government’s immediate commitment to adequate funding for refuges. Up and down the country, refuges are facing closure, and women and children fleeing domestic abuse are being turned away when they are most at risk of harm. In 2017/18, over half of all referrals to refuges were declined.

“In England and Wales alone, almost one in three women will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime, and two women a week are killed by a current or former partner. Domestic abuse is the single biggest issue facing women in the UK today and these numbers haven’t changed in years, in fact they are only getting worse. The Government can afford no more delays to reform – women’s lives depend on it.”

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