We know the benefits that a simple television can have to someone in a refuge. For women, children or men fleeing domestic abuse, arriving in a refuge can be part of a scary and unsettling experience. Being able to watch a familiar show, keep up with the news or bond with new friends over a film can make all the difference.
Over the years, we have heard from some refuges that they were confused about the TV licensing rules. Some people had heard conflicting advice about whether they needed a licence or not. Others said that they would rather go without a TV than register for a new licence, especially as they don’t know how long they will be in the refuge for.
We approached the BBC and asked them to change the rules around licensing in refuges. We were delighted by Tony Hall’s enthusiastic response to our request, and have been working alongside the BBC to get the policy change right. The new policy means that a licence for a television in a communal area will cover the personal television of anyone staying in a refuge, although any on-site staff accommodation will need to be licensed separately.
Our CEO Tim Leech said “We are delighted that the BBC has changed its policy to protect people made vulnerable by domestic abuse. By doing so, the BBC has added its voice to ours in condemning domestic abuse, and delivered a way to provide comfort and companionship to people in need. We now need Government to legislate on this important issue to protect the rights of domestic abuse survivors.”
Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said: “We are delighted that the BBC has listened to Wavelength’s campaign and taken into account the unique position of refuges when it comes to their TV licence policy. Often when survivors and children arrive at a refuge, they have nothing but the clothes on their backs; escaping domestic abuse to a refuge is their ultimate last resort. This small change to the TV licence policy for refuges – a licence will now cover the whole refuge rather than each resident needing her own licence – will help ease the awful reality of leaving your home, family and community. It will send out a powerful message to survivors and their children that they are being supported in their escape from domestic abuse.”
We would like to thank the BBC for all of their help in bringing this change to life.