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Women's Aid Refuges

Volume 982: debated on Tuesday 1 April 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, in view of the fact that some women's aid refuges have closed recently because of lack of local authority funding and support, if he will seek to take steps to implement the recommendations made four years ago by the Select Committee on violence in marriage.

The previous Administration's response to the Select Committee's report was set out in Cmnd. 6690. This made it clear in paragraph 46 that the need for refuges could best be estimated locally in the light of experience in ways local resources are used. This is now a matter, at national level, for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment. The Department accepted the recommendation made by the Select Committee that it should fund the National Women's Aid Federation. In this financial year, £75,000 has been made available to the federation to assist in its aims to provide refuge, support and help for battered women and their children.My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for the Environment, is at present funding a study of the current provision, role and need for refuges.A significant number of refuges are funded under the Department of the Environment urban aid programme.