Ex-convict allowed in women’s refuge after claiming he is female

Men who say they are women are being allowed into female domestic abuse hostels, even if they have not undergone surgery to ‘change sex’.

Mark Addis, a 44-year-old man convicted of domestic abuse, has been allowed to come and go from the East London Women’s Project because he ‘identifies’ as a woman.

Managers at the hostel have been accused of ignoring safety concerns raised by staff and “slavishly” following a politically correct agenda.


Addis was arrested in November 2013 for issuing death threats to the mother of his child.

He spent six months in prison, before being issued a restraining order and placed on a 40-day domestic abuse programme.

Despite this, bosses at homeless charity St Mungo’s have allowed him to make daily visits to one of its women-only hostels under the name Melissa.

‘Absolutely terrified’

Erin Pizzey, who set up the first women’s domestic violence hostel in 1971, opposed the decision, saying: “The most important thing in women’s hostels is their safety. If you add a male into a women’s environment, it will cause havoc.”

Karen Ingala-Smith, CEO of domestic and sexual violence charity Nia, said: “Allowing a male who identifies as transgender with a history of domestic violence to enter what is supposed to be a safe space for women just shows utter contempt for women in that space.”

Since visiting the hostel Addis has been accused of causing “alarm and distress” to its female residents.

A whistleblower from the East London Women’s Project said, “the women were absolutely terrified”.

Gender Recognition Act

LGBT lobby group Stonewall has previously praised St Mungo’s for saying it would never ask for evidence of someone’s sex because it is “open to women on a self-identifying basis.”

Last year, the Government consulted on reforms to the Gender Recognition Act 2004 which could allow a person to legally self-declare their gender.

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