Hostels ‘exclude’ the most needy women

    Women who are victims of domestic violence and also have mental
    health or substance misuse problems are struggling to access the
    services they need, research by Women’s Aid reveals.

    A report by the campaign group says that despite up to 60 per cent
    of women mental health service users experiencing domestic
    violence, only one-fifth of 216 women’s refuges who responded to
    their survey said they would accommodate women with additional
    mental health needs.

    Although these women are twice as likely as other women to misuse
    substances, this group too is excluded from hostels, the report
    finds.

    Clare Ladlow, who manages the integrated service at Northampton
    Council’s Sunflower Centre, said it was “ironic” that, given the
    clear link between mental health and domestic violence and drug and
    alcohol misuse, refuges excluded them.

    She said proposals in the government’s consultation paper on
    improving best value performance indicators on domestic violence,
    published in June, would fail to protect women with multiple
    needs.

    But former domestic violence co-ordinator at the Office of the
    Deputy Prime Minister, Caroline Rowsell, said that the sector had
    “missed an opportunity” to improve services during the three-year
    transitional period to the Supporting People programme, suggesting
    groups of refuges could have worked together to employ mental
    health or drug and alcohol specialists.

    – Women’s Aid report from www.womensaid.org.uk

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