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Christian charity calls for rethink on 'crucial' women's refuges

by Hannah Tooley

They are under threat due to a change in the way housing benefit is paid to supported and sheltered housing.

National domestic abuse charity Women's Aid is warning the change could destroy lives.

Mandy Marshall, Co-director of Restored Relationships, Christian charity working to prevent the abuse of women, told Premier's News Hour that these refuges are life lines, and is calling on churches to intervene on their behalf.

"I think it's really important that we do advocate, as a church community, to say that actually there is a need for long-term sustainable funding for refuges," she said.

"We can all write to our MP and push for the Department of Work and Pensions to push for this."

Addressing the need for these refuges, she said: "With two women a week dying due to domestic abuse and leaving being one of the most dangerous times for women, they need a safe place to go to.

"To find this research out by Women's Aid... is going to have a dramatic impact on the safety of women who want to choose safety over living in a dangerous situation."

Women's Aid is warning that Government plans to cap housing benefit in the social sector risk destroying the finances of the refuges, which take in women and their children who have been victims of abuse or violence at the hands of their partners.

It gave the example of one refuge and said income would be reduced from around £300 to £60 per room per week.

Listen to Premier's Marcus Jones speak to Mandy Marshall here:

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