A West Midlands woman seeking shelter in a refuge was told she would have to go to ORKNEY because of a lack of places.
She was told she faced a 600-mile journey from Birmingham for a safe bed.
The shocking case is highlighted in an inquiry which found women’s refuges across the country have had their budgets cut by nearly a quarter in the last seven years.
That is despite the number of domestic violence cases reported to the police increasing by a third in the same period.
An investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism found three-quarters of councils have reduced the amount spent on women’s refuges since 2010.
Funding for refuges across England has dropped from £31.2 million in 2010 and 2011 – or £36.7 million when adjusted for inflation – to just £23.9 million in 2016 and 2017.
Information obtained from 84 local authorities across England revealed more than 1,000 vulnerable women and children were turned away in the last six months.
Jess Phillips, Labour MP for Yardley, who previously worked supporting victims of domestic violence, said: “Lack of places is definitely a problem and it’s getting progressively worse.
“Every day someone in Birmingham will need a place and there are no refuge beds. I try to get refuge beds all the time – and I can’t get one.
“That also puts pressure on the homelessness situation. People end up being put up in a cheap hotel and their children have to travel two and a half hours to school.”
On average, two women a week in England and Wales are killed by their partners or ex-partners. Many of the 40 refuge managers surveyed said they were often forced to turn away women with physical disabilities, mental health problems, or because they had too many children with them.
Many services like child support workers, specialist support for women from ethnic minorities and substance abuse workers have also had to be cut.
Clare Phillipson, manager for a refuge in Sunderland, said: “I spent last weekend trying to work out which woman to turn away.
“You’re thinking ‘Is this woman going to die if we turn her away?’ It’s awful.”
One woman had to call the police four times while she waited for a space in a refuge.