ACTIVISTS laid flowers outside London’s City Hall yesterday in remembrance of all the women who have died after being turned away from the capital’s disappearing domestic violence refuges.
Members of Sisters Uncut stood outside the office of newly elected London Mayor Sadiq Khan to demand that he tackle the growing crisis.
Mr Khan was confronted by campaigners earlier in the day.
According to Sisters Uncut, nearly two of every three women seeking refuge from an abusive partner in London is refused help due to a lack of capacity.
Activist Grace Evans said: “The last mayor of London failed domestic violence survivors on a mass scale,” warning that Mr Khan would “have blood on his hands too” if he turned his back on the problem.
Many of the country’s domestic violence services have been forced to close due to funding cuts over the past six years.
Research by Women’s Aid found that 3,000 London women had been turned away in the 18 months to April last year, nearly twice the national average.
The numbers for disabled women and those needing substance abuse support are higher.
Migrant women suffer even more, as only 20 of the 262 refuge referrals for those in this category without recourse to public funds were successful.
Domestic violence support worker Selena Lowe said: “It’s heartbreaking when even one woman has finally pulled together the huge courage to leave, but there’s nowhere safe for her to go.
“The fact this is now happening to thousands of women in London is devastating.”
Mr Khan pledged to tackle the issue during his campaign.
In an April letter to the End Violence Against Women Coalition, Mr Khan wrote: “The pressure caused by the housing crisis is having a massive effect on those groups that desperately need temporary accommodation, including those whose safety is at risk.”
He said the next mayor would have to “make sure a share of the new homes … is made available to keep women and children safe, and support them in moving to more stable accommodation.”
Mr Khan and his team did not respond to requests for comment before the Star went to press.