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Housing shortage a growing concern for women’s refuges

Published måndag 20 mars 2017 kl 14.11
"Women are forced to leave us when they have nowhere to go"
(1:48 min)
A young woman with her face turned away from the camera
After having stayed at a women's refuge for three years, 21-year-old Christina has nowhere to live. Credit: Sofia Bergström/Sveriges Radio

Many women who have suffered domestic violence are forced to stay longer than necessary at refuges due to Sweden’s housing shortage, a survey has found.

In a survey of 83 women's refuges across the country, carried out by the Alva refuge in western Sweden, 62 per cent of the respondents said they had had three or more women staying with them longer than necessary due to difficulties finding housing.

“It happens a lot that we have women staying with us longer than necessary. And we’ve had women just recently who were forced to leave us when they have nowhere to go," Charlotte Jörland, a counsellor at a women's refuge in Stockholm, told Swedish Radio's Tendens programme.

One of those affected is a 21-year-old woman who calls herself Christina. She stayed at a refuge even after she no longer needed protection, because she had nowhere else to go. After 3 years, the social services decided they would no longer pay for her place at the refuge.

Since she lost her place at the refuge in December last year, Christina has stayed with friends, in a hostel, and she has even slept in a storage room at work. But she will not go back to her family, which first subjected her to the abuse.

“I’ve moved on. I’ve got a job, I’ve managed to do a lot of things, actually, so I don’t want to go back there. I can’t,” she said.

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