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Rise in abuse: Women’s Refuge opens second home

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THERE has been a significant increase in the number of women seeking support for abuse during the lockdown period, the Women’s Refuge has said.

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The charity has had to open a temporary second home and has seen so many admissions to their safe houses in recent weeks that they are now in need of food donations, as their cupboards have been left ‘bare’.

The refuge service manager, Marine Oliveira, said: ‘Lockdown has increased tensions among families and left the abused often feeling trapped inside their home with nowhere to go.

‘We have been helping throughout the pandemic. In recent weeks there has been a dramatic rise in people calling for our support, which places extra demand on our supplies.’

The refuge has been forced to open a second temporary safe home to cope with the number of new cases. The charity has asked the public to donate tinned foods, cereals and baby food. They are currently supported by Waitrose through Fareshare, a UK charity fighting hunger and food waste.

Mrs Oliveira said they received products close to their expiry dates from Waitrose but on an inconsistent basis and would appreciate any extra support from the public.

She said that the extra pressure on relationships had contributed to a rise in the number of abuse cases.

And she added that the refuge was expecting the number of cases to increase throughout the next few months as more people came forward for support.

‘Lockdown places added risk on relationships due to increased time spent together and limited hours outdoors. There have been new abuse incidents and numerous cases of reoffending,’ she said.

Mrs Oliveira said cases often featured women who were unemployed, struggling financially or had been dependent on the abusers’ income, which reinforced the importance of donations to support them.

She added that the refuge had been grateful for the public support received during the pandemic.

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