Earl Russell asked
Her Majesty's Government:
(a) How many places in women's refuges now exist; and (b) how many places were thought necessary by the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee in 1975. [HL6227]
§ The Minister of State for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister: (Lord Rooker):
In 1998, a survey of voluntary sector refuge groups found that there were approximately 7,269 bed-spaces in 409 refuge properties in England. The number of household spaces was not recorded by this survey.
Local authorities were also surveyed about refuge provision and reported that there were, in 1999, 7,215 bed-spaces in total. Of these, 393 spaces were for single 52WA women and 2,322 were for women with children, i.e. a total of 2,715 household spaces.
More up-to-date information will shortly become available from the reporting of supporting people supply information.
The 1975 recommendation was made by the Select Committee on Violence in Marriage and related to family spaces in refuges rather than the number of individual bedspaces. This suggested provision of 5,580 family spaces, based on one space per 10,000 of the population. No rationale for this assumption was given. The estimate was queried by the Department of the Environment at the time the recommendation was made.