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I'm suffering domestic abuse. Can I go into a refuge?

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MPs are calling for stronger action to tackle Domestic Abuse.

A figure revealed by MPs from the Home Affairs Select Committee has shown that almost 200 victims of Domestic Abuse are turned away from emergency refuges every day due to desperate lack of bed spaces. The charity Women’s Aid said that 60% of referrals to their refuges are refused due to lack of bed spaces, which equates to 90 women and 94 children every day.

Charity ManKind Initiative, a charity that works with male victims, has reported that only 0.8 per cent of refuge beds are reserved for males. Police in England and Wales recorded that Domestic Abuse instances involving a male victim have doubled since 2012. The charity has said that although there are over 3,600 beds in safe houses for women, only 20 of them in the whole of England were set aside for males. There are no refuge beds solely for men in London. This rise in reports of domestic abuse from men has not been met with increased resources.

 MPs have urged the government to provide more support for victims of domestic abuse and that the reforms should be widened as a matter of urgency. The government is proposing new legislation and a new strategy, but enquiries highlighted that much stronger action is needed across the board. Charities urgently need more refuge places for males, females and those with children.

The Home Affairs Select Committee report also called on the Government to introduce a national register for serial stalkers and a new commissioner to help stand up for victims’ rights.

A government spokesperson has recognised domestic abuse as a devastating crime that shatters the lives of victims and families. The government is determined to transform it’s response and welcomes the support of the Home Affairs Select Committee for the planned Domestic Abuse Bill.

The landmark bill will create stronger powers to protect and support victims and survivors, pursue perpetrators and ensure that agencies are able to respond effectively.

The Chief Executive of Women’s Aid has said that the Domestic Abuse bill is a golden opportunity to transform the lives of survivors and tackle the root causes of domestic abuse once and for all.

If you or anyone you know is being or has been subjected to any form of domestic violence and abuse, or the perpetrator has made an application in the family courts and you have to attend, don’t delay, contact the Domestic Violence and Abuse Department (DVAD) at Emery Johnson Astills, either by phoning 0116 255 4855, or by emailing DVAD@johnsonastills.com.

A specially trained member of staff in the DVAD of Emery Johnson Astills will be able to provide advice as to what steps you can take to protect yourself and also whether you may be eligible for Legal Aid.