Domestic abuse victims are unable to access a refuge in Peterborough as the current occupants cannot find a house in the city to move into.
Peterborough Women’s Aid said it had to refer women and children in Peterborough to other parts of the country, away from their family and friends, because a “housing crisis” was preventing the current refuge users from leaving.
The charity, which has been providing a refuge for 42 years, said it received 188 referrals in 2016/17, but could only accommodate 37 women.
Some residents have been at the refuge for longer than a year.
Trustees Sonia Bolland and Judy Jones said: “Our building can accommodate up to eight women and 18 children at any one time. From 2016/17 we have housed 37 women and 45 children. Sadly, however, this is a significant drop in numbers - in 1998 we helped 114 women and 206 children.
“This does not, however, indicate that domestic abuse is on the wane, far from it.
“Sadly it reflects the lack of family accommodation available in the city, therefore women and their children are forced to stay in the refuge much longer than previously before they are allocated a property and can move on to their own home.
“As a consequence fewer women and children can be helped.”
The charity said it needs volunteers with a variety of skills and interests to help at the refuge. It is also seeking more trustees, particularly people who have a legal or human resources background.
People interested in volunteering should email firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter to PO Box 75 Peterborough, PE1 4UZ, with a phone number and an indication of your skills or interests.
Furthermore, Peterborough Women’s Aid has said it is no longer offering a separate Outreach Service - which provides advice and support - as this will become part of an integrated Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council service.