Abuse victim says refuges must be saved

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A mum-of-two who has turned her life around after fleeing her violent husband has added her voice to calls to save women’s refuges under threat due to a funding crisis.

The woman, named only as ‘Sandra’ in order to preserve her safety, said she would be dead now without the lifeline the service gave her.

As reported earlier in the week, safe havens in Wyre and Fylde are among nine which could be forced to close because Lancashire County Council is proposing to withdraw £900,000 from the service in March 2017.

Sandra said: “The police told me I had to leave my home for my own safety. I had to go in the middle of the night with my son.

“I was met by someone from Fylde Coast Women’s Aid and taken to a refuge.

“I was so traumatised that I had said my goodbyes to my son and attempted to take my own life.

“People can’t appreciate how terrible it is until they actually live it.

“The support I received at the refuge was phenomenal. It helped me through a criminal court case and a family court case, and without them I wouldn’t be here today.

“This funding is vital because otherwise where are women going to turn to for help?”

Sandra now has her own home and a baby with a new partner.

She added: “Women’s Aid helped me set up my home, providing things like furniture and bedding.

“I have moved on and have a baby and he has the most fabulous big brother.”

Campaigners calling for the refuges to be saved include John and Penny Clough whose daughter Jane, a Blackpool nurse, was murdered by her abusive ex-boyfriend.

Lancashire County Council says it is setting up a £3m annual Prevention and Early Help Fund to provide urgent support, which will include victims of domestic violence.