167 families asked for refuge from domestic abuse in Lancaster

The refuge in Lancaster is under threat of closure
The refuge in Lancaster is under threat of closure

Lancaster Women’s Refuge is under threat of closure following the announcement of more county council funding cuts.

The refuge, which is run by Burnley based Safenet Domestic Abuse Service, is one of nine across Lancashire that face an uncertain future after March 2017.

Last year, 167 families were referred as needing refuge accommodation in Lancaster.

Of these, the refuge was able to accommodate 32 families, which included 32 women and 21 children.

The issue was raised at Prime Minister’s Question Time last week.

David Cameron said the Government had committed £80m of extra funding to tackle violence against women and girls.

Mr Cameron said: “This does include funding and securing the future for refuges and other accommodation-based services but it obviously helps if local councils make the right decisions as well.”

Lancashire County Council blamed the move on the need to save £262m over the next five years.

A spokesman said: “Despite the planned changes, the council recognises the need to make urgent support available to individuals and families when they need it the most, which is why a £3m annual Prevention and Early Help Fund is being established.

“Although details of the support this funding will provide have not yet been finalised, victims of domestic violence have been identified as a priority group and some of the funding will be invested in supporting them.

“These discussions are ongoing and the final decision will not be made until further work has been completed.”