We were horrified to read about women being turned away from domestic abuse refuges in England simply because they couldn’t speak English. Llamau never has, and never will, refuse anyone a space in one of our refuges because of the apparent difficulty involved in supporting them.

Everyone who has experienced domestic abuse deserves to be given a safe space in which to recover and move on from abuse, enabling them to build a positive future for themselves and their families.

Throughout the Covid pandemic, we have seen some refuge spaces restricted to women who are seen as being ‘easier to support’. Refuge spaces have come with caveats that women cannot access them if they have substance misuse or mental health issues or if they are pregnant. This simply isn’t acceptable. Women who have lived through the trauma of domestic abuse will often have complex support needs, often as a result of the years of abuse they have suffered. Refuges cannot simply turn them away because of this complexity.

We have welcomed and supported women into our refuges and our outreach services who cannot speak English and will continue to do so. We are proud to have always been able to find interpreters, either amongst our own colleagues or through partner agencies. We are also proud to run domestic abuse services in partnership with Bawso.

Domestic abuse refuges are there to support women at a time of crisis – at a time when they need safety and support for both them and their children more than ever before. No woman should ever be turned away from a refuge because they cannot speak English and at Llamau, no woman ever will be.