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What is new at Reigate and Banstead Women’s Aid refuges ?

A special thank you to Charlotte  Kneer, CEO of Reigate and Banstead Women’s Aid (RBWA), for speaking at  our Club meeting  yesterday.   Charlotte gave us the  latest news from the refuges which have coped amazingly well during the pandemic. At one point, Charlotte mentioned that they were having to turn away 8 or 9 women for every refuge space they had, compared to 3 being turned away pre- pandemic. Luckily,  they  have received some more  funding from Surrey County Council and have been able to accommodate emergency support  for  families in another large refuge. This new refuge will accommodate up to 19 families by mid May.

Charlotte  has been asked to meet with  Victoria Atkins,  the Safeguarding minister,  to look into the possibility of rolling out the RBWA  model across Surrey with a possibility of it being rolled out nationally. With regards to the Domestic Abuse Bill,  Charlotte said that although there is now a duty on local authorities to provide accommodation,  there needed to be a  reference to what a refuge actually is because some landlords may take advantage of this in offering private accommodation rather than specialist support.

Charlotte will be continuing to work with the OECD in coming up with global policy solutions in dealing with violence against women and girls.  Charlotte has produced a podcast with the OECD and this will be released shortly. Also, she is advising on a documentary of  problematic portrayals of domestic abuse  with the BBC and Netflix.

We asked Charlotte how we can be of most help to RBWA and she said that  if we can continue to fundraise for support staff,  this would be greatly appreciated.

You can view a clip of  Charlotte speaking  at our Club meeting on this link: