19 June 2018
Public health funders must be held to account over domestic violence service funding, say Greens
Green Councillors have slammed public health leaders and the Labour Council for failing to protect women’s services in the city, after news that a branch of the Women’s Centre is due to close following cuts.
The Women’s Centre was forced to absorb an £80,000 budget cut earlier this year after local health authority, the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), took a decision to withdraw its funding for the charity’s women-only counselling service. 
Green Councillors are demanding that the Clinical Commissioning Group, Police and Crime Commissioner and local Labour Council immediately review their funding commitments to support women’s services, saying that decisions to withdraw the counselling contract ‘almost certainly’ contributed to the closure.
Convenor of the Green Group, Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty, commented:
“Further to helping to raise the alarm in February that the Women’s centre was facing damaging cuts, we have been devastated to hear that cuts to the Women’s Centre have left them with no choice but to close their Kemp Town office.
“For over 40 years now the Women’s Centre has been helping women in our city rebuild their mental and physical health. Many of these women are survivors of domestic and sexual violence and have relied on this support. There’s no question: it’s a lifeline. Despite counselling and mental health services being overwhelmed with new users, our city’s women will now be left facing longer delays for support, if they can get it at all. And again women are being expected to bear the brunt of cuts.
“A key contract for women-only counselling services by the CCG which was cut has almost certainly contributed to the closure. The Labour Council supposedly works in partnership with funders such as the Police and Crime Commissioner and Clinical Commissioning Group. There is no doubt in my mind that they must be held jointly accountable for the situation the Women’s Centre faces and must jointly re-provide services that will help. We also urgently call on the Labour Council to assist the Women’s Centre in their efforts to find an alternative venue for the drop-in and food bank service.
“With the new Violence Against Women and Girls strategy up for consultation, we are repeating our call for adequate funding and call on the CCG and other local decision makers to take serious action for our city’s women. 7,600 women and girls a year experience domestic violence in Brighton and Hove, so allowing any part of our Women’s Centre services to fold is completely unacceptable.”