Mergers threat to women’s aid bodies

Housing association mergers are undermining partnerships forged between associations and domestic violence agencies, according to the head of Women’s Aid.

The charity’s chief executive Nicola Harwin said she had been contacted regularly over the past 10 years by independent women’s aid organisations which had been “booted out” of partnerships when associations restructured.

Speaking at Women’s Pioneer Housing’s annual Mary Smith lecture this week, Harwin also said that housing associations defined domestic violence refuge services too narrowly, leading to a lack of breadth in provision.

“If you are intent on paring down to bottom line costs you cut out a whole range of services that are absolutely crucial in providing a holistic response,” she said.

She also predicted many high quality local services would be “forced to the wall” as local authorities increasingly went to the big providers which offer a cheaper cost per unit.


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