COMMENT: Those at risk deserve a  safe place of refuge

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THERE are many deserving causes needing our help, but providing refuges for mothers and children fleeing domestic violence should surely be a priority in a modern, caring society.

Stop Domestic abuse has done remarkably well to raise £500,000 since launching its Buy A Brick appeal in 2016. But it needs to raise the other half of its £1m target within two years.

The charity has 13 refuges across Hampshire and Portsmouth with 89 beds – but could lose 52 of those as its landlord is reviewing the use of the buildings as refuges.

The group has no quibble with its landlords making a commercial decision, but it is desperate top open its own purpose-built facility and avoid the ‘worst-case scenario’ of victims unable to find a place of safety.

The charity claims almost 200 women and children are turned away from a refuge each day in England because of a lack of space.

It reports that women are considerably more likely to experience repeated and severe forms of abuse, including sexual violence. It adds that women are also more likely to have experienced sustained physical, psychological or emotional abuse, or violence which results in serious injury.

According to the charity’s website: ‘One in four women will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime with one in seven children also being exposed to domestic abuse.

‘These figures mean that in whatever context domestic violence and abuse  (DVA) is discussed, if women are present, there is a possibility that as many as a quarter of them may have been subjected to DVA.’

Stop Domestic Abuse  is lobbying the government for a far-reaching new domestic abuse bill to tackle the problems.

They are right to bring the issue to the forefront of debate, and we wish them well in their quest to protect those at risk