Page last updated at 05:54 GMT, Wednesday, 10 September 2008 06:54 UK

Money worries for abuse centres

woman and child (generic)
The information centres offers support to victims of domestic violence

Two information centres which help victims of domestic violence are under threat because of a lack of funding, a charity has warned.

Women's Aid said the centres at Aberconwy and Colwyn in Conwy are struggling to secure grant aid.

Although refuges in the towns are safe, the charity says the two centres under threat are vital in providing help to victims of violence.

The assembly government said funding to tackle domestic abuse had increased.

"These workers are a very important bridge between women and families suffering abuse and safe places of refuge," said Conwy county councillor Phil Edwards, who has arranged a meeting at Conwy council on Wednesday to discuss the crisis.

"I'm not exaggerating when I say they are life savers," he added.

Cheryl Dixon from Aberconwy's Women's Aid said the charity desperately needed more funds to pay an outreach worker to work with women and their children.

Ms Dixon said the refuge itself at Llandudno is safe, but there was not enough money to run the information centre, including an outreach worker.

The information centre provides support for women who are living with abuse - helping them to leave, or helping them get injunctions against violent partners.

The outreach worker supports women on everything from court appearances to helping women set up new homes when they leave the refuge, she said.

We are constantly struggling and crossing our fingers that we find the next round of funding
Clare Thomas, Women's Aid

From April 2007 to March 2008, 104 women called in at the centre, whilst they dealt with 305 women over the phone.

"The outreach worker is currently employed 10 hours a week, and that is not enough," Ms Dixon said.

"We do more than this already because the women need us, but we would like to do more still," she added.

Clare Thomas from Colwyn Women's Aid echoed Ms Dixon.

"The refuge itself is paid for by the government, and that money is ring-fenced, although it does not go up with inflation," she said.

"The problem is that other work, including the centre and any outreach worker is grant funded.

"That means we are constantly struggling and crossing our fingers that we find the next round of funding," she added.

Funding

But in a statement, the assembly government said it was delivering a national strategy to tackle domestic abuse.

"Funding for domestic abuse initiatives has increased sevenfold since 2002 and now stand at 3.7m," said a spokesman.

"This funding currently supports many projects across Wales including a co-ordinator in every Community Safety Partnership in Wales.

"Welsh Women's Aid receives funding of over 1m per year from the domestic abuse budget.

"This includes funding for a free phone bilingual 24 hour national helpline based in Penygroes and funding for peripatetic children's workers who provide additional support for young people affected by domestic abuse," he added.




SEE ALSO
More women's refuges 'necessary'
24 Oct 06 |  South East Wales
Show of support for Women's Aid
02 Oct 99 |  Scotland

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