Salisbury Women's Refuge fears Brexit could hit funding

Domestic Abuse - Speak Out Today (Hants Police)

6:10am 9th August 2016

Unless you needed their help, you probably wouldn't know it existed, but Salisbury's Women's Refuge is hoping we can help them.

The rooms at the site are almost always full, supporting women who have fled domestic violence, sometimes with just the clothes they're stood up in.

The Salisbury refuge is also one of the only ones in the country that still has staff on hand to help residents 24 hours a day - but they're struggling for funding.

Manager Sue Cox has been in talks with Salisbury's MP John Glen to ask the Prime Minister for greater support of services like theirs:

"Theresa May as Home Secretary was really working to prevent violence against women and girls, pushing forward that strategy, so we're really hoping that she'll do great things for us. We want people to know that there's really vulnerable families, really little children, who have gone through some horrendous abuse, and that they're getting lots and lots of support. Anything that the local community can do to help us support tjese really vulnerable families would be amazing."

Deputy manager Angie Stewart says it's now an important time to start talking about what they do - as they look to keep funding coming in:

"When I started here 6 years ago, in my interview I was told, you don't talk about what you do, you definitely don't tell people where you are, and we've always kept to that. A lot of people say they didn't even realise there was a refuge in Salisbury, so hopefully people are going to realise that we are here and we need a bit of help."

The building gives those fleeing domestic violence a place to stay and be safe while they rebuild their lives.

But funding is an issue, and there are fears that Brexit and a possible downturn in the economy could be a real threat to them.

Deputy manager Angie Stewart says the support they give is crucial:

"Generally, they'll be here for six to nine months, they can have counselling, because we have staff here 24 hours a day, they can come down of an evening and talk to staff. We encourage them to empower themselves.

"Very often financial abuse is part of their domestic abuse, so we'll help them with their money. They can do whatever they like, they can do English and Maths, so it's an all-round package, so that hopefully by the time they leave, everything's on top form."

There are fears for the future of Salisbury's women's refuge if more funding can't be found to keep their staffing levels up.

We can't reveal the location of the city's refuge for security reasons, but it's hoped we'll get behind them and support those who have escaped serious domestic violence.

Manager Sue Cox says it's a vital time for them:

"With the local authority, the money they're getting every year is going down, and they have to pass that on to us, so we do see a reduction in the funding that we receive. We worry about what's going to happen in the future. We're here 24/7 for victims of domestic abuse and that has a huge impact on our outgoings and expenses. That's the bit that's going to be a struggle going forward I think."

If you feel you could help the Salisbury Women's Refuge in any way, you can email them on w.refuge@tiscali.co.uk

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