Green councillors have today welcomed the national charity Women’s Aid campaign against the closure of refuges for women fleeing domestic abuse.
In Brighton & Hove domestic abuse services remain intact, and have recently expanded to incorporate a service specifically for men experiencing abuse.
The crisis of closure of refuges across the UK is compounded by a range of government policies which campaigners say force women to remain in abusive situations. A combination of the introduction of universal credit, women being disproportionately hit by public sector job cuts, cuts to Legal Aid and rising female unemployment mean women who are experiencing abusive situations are less able to escape them.
Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion is tabling an Early Day Motion in parliament on the issue.
Councillor Ruth Buckley, Deputy Leader of the Council and Women’s Champion, said: “Government cuts tied in with austerity measures are hitting vulnerable women at every turn. Cuts to domestic violence charities and shelters, cuts to legal aid, cuts to criminal justice and cuts even to the NHS which treats the victims of DV – all are affected.
“It is high time for the government to address this area as a priority, and recognise how the violence of austerity has impacted on all aspects of society – otherwise they are complicit in the continuation of DV.”
Research by Women’s Aid found that on one day in 2013, 155 women and 103 children had to be turned away from refuges across England because of a lack of resources
In July 2014 a new service in conjunction with local domestic abuse charity RISE opened for men experiencing domestic abuse:
The Women’s Budget Group has done analysis of the Spring’s budget announcements, and found that a majority of the government’s tax giveaways were arranged at the expense of women: