Page last updated at 15:24 GMT, Thursday, 20 August 2009 16:24 UK

Fight to save axed women's refuge

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Campaigners argue the refuge is "vital" to the town

A campaign has been launched to save a women's refuge from closure after plans were made to reallocate funding to create a team of outreach workers.

The centre in Weymouth, Dorset, offers services for female victims of domestic violence and their children.

Dorset Supporting People Commissioning Group said the outreach team would offer services for men and women.

But protesters against the plans argue the closure will affect the entire network of refuges in the south west.

'Vital service'

Councillor Andrew Cattaway, from Dorset County Council, which is part of the partnership that makes up the commissioning group, said research had shown an outreach team was "more effective" overall.

He said: "We will have more mobile staff, we will have better trained staff and the outreach-based service is proven, in research that we have been conducting in the last two years throughout the county to be more effective in the overall case."

One victim of abuse, who did not want to be named, told the BBC the refuge was "vital"

Opposition has mounted against plans with demonstrators taking to the streets in Weymouth to gather support.

Ros Kayes, Liberal Democrat prospective parliamentary candidate for Dorset South, said the refuge was "vital" to the women of the town and their children.

"If we lose just one of these refuges then the capacity of the whole network is going to be affected," she said.

Home Office figures reveal that one incident of domestic violence is reported to the police every minute.



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