DOMESTIC abuse forced families in Trafford into homelessness or threatened them with homelessness more than 100 times during the pandemic, according to figures.

Figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government for March 2020 to March 2021 show 77 families became homeless due to domestic abuse.

Another 28 families needed help from Trafford Council to avoid becoming homeless due to domestic abuse, taking the total to 105.

Samantha Fisher, chief executive of Trafford Domestic Abuse Services (TDAS), said the pandemic itself had a role in these figures.

She said: "Covid-19 added additional complexities for families who desperately needed to escape, with perpetrators using the pandemic as another means to control them and isolate them.

"Referrals for safe accommodation far outweighed the number of safe spaces TDAS had, which meant we had to quickly open a new refuge last year to try to meet some of the demand."

Ms Fisher also said the demand is not going away, with TDAS opening another, new, five-bedroom refuge next month.

She added: "The impact of the pandemic is not short term – charities will be dealing with the after effects of this for years to come.

"We need longer term committed funding to support families who are at risk of homelessness due to domestic abuse."

Across England, councils received 31,180 requests for help from families who had become homeless or were at risk of becoming homeless due to domestic abuse – a 17 per cent increase on March 2019 to March 2020.

Of these, almost half were families with children.

And although the gender of the people making requests for help is not specified, separate figures from the Office of National Statistics show women are more than twice as likely as men to be victims of domestic abuse.

Sophie Francis-Cansfield, policy manager at Women’s Aid, said: "It's shocking that, in 2021, women fleeing domestic abuse still face the terrifying prospect of either returning to their perpetrator or facing homelessness.

"We continue to face a shortage of bed spaces in specialist refuge services, and this has a huge impact for women at a time when they are most in need of support."

For information on how to access domestic abuse services or how to support TDAS, visit the charity's website.

You can donate to new refuge at this link.

Trafford Council is also running a consultation on the shape of its domestic abuse services.

To contribute to the consultation, visit the 'latest news' section of Trafford Council's website.