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Thursday, 31 March 2011

How is this acceptable?

After tomorrow, 62% of refuge services will have no funding and neither will 72% of services provided in peoples' homes.

An estimated 40% job losses predicted across the domestic violence sector.

70,000 women and children could be without support, as of tomorrow.

400 refuge spaces cut to 160.

Yesterday we learned that the Government is to abolish the measures it put in place to try to tackle Female Genital Mutilation. According to the Guardian:

"The news comes a month after the government launched guidelines to help frontline workers in health, education and social services identify and prevent FGM, and pledged its commitment to ending the practice.

But charities say that without a central government co-ordinator, crucial efforts to raise awareness among professionals on a local level, where the issue is often still not understood, could be seriously hampered."

When the guidelines were launched, Lynne Featherstone said:

"I have seen first hand the effect this abhorrent crime can have on women and girls. This government is determined to put an end to it."

So determined, in fact, that they're no longer going to bother with trying to tackle it.

Earlier this month I spent time in a country where better provision for women and children who are victims of domestic violence is badly needed. Shelters, for one thing - they don't exist. One of the women I talked to spoke of how refuges were one of the things she really felt her city needed and of how she felt they would make a big difference to many women. I listened to women talk about the problems this lack of provision causes - women having nowhere to go when they want to leave their partner - so they don't leave. Women who feel they can't support themselves and they're trapped because no-one else will help support them when they need it most - so they don't leave. And the violence gets hushed up, hidden away - and more serious.

Is that really what those running this country want?

Said Theresa May on International Women's Day, just three weeks ago:

"I want to see an end to all forms of violence against women and girls. Our comprehensive and detailed action plan sets out how we are going to tackle these crimes – supporting those at risk, helping victims and ensuring offenders are brought to justice.

"Most importantly we need to prevent these crimes occurring in the first place. That is why we are challenging, and where necessary working to change, attitudes and behaviours."

Somehow I don't think what's going to happen tomorrow will help.


sianandcrookedrib said...

right, we're going to do something about this hannah!

over the weekend i will write this open letter to Cameron, Clegg and May, and Featherstone, and will be asking them to donate personally to Women's Aid, Eaves and Refuge, and Forward, seeing as their cuts are going to cause such grave harm to women, and seeing as these organisations actually save money on police and nhs costs.

We'll get every influential, activist and outspoken feminist we know to sign it, as well as the feminists we don't know.

This weekend I will get it sorted. And we'll get press coverage, we'll try and get the letter published in a paper...we're doing this!

Battersea Boy said...

Look, with the increased payments now being made to the EC, something has to go. And it can't be those services that local authority's have a statutory duty to perform. Ergo, funding to non-statutory services (such as you list) has to be drastically reduced or eliminated altogether.

The alternative is to leave the EC. Which would you prefer?


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