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Reasons to protest on 26 March: cuts to women’s refuges

Government cuts to council budgets will lead to more victims of domestic violence dying at the hands of their abusers, writes Joy Macready.
More than half of domestic violence services across the country do not know if they will remain open after March.

One in four women are affected directly by domestic violence sometime in their life but the government and councils are cutting women’s refuges.

A Women’s Aid survey has found that only a quarter of refuges have had their contracts extended beyond March, while more than a third face possible closure. Yet, the number of women killed by a violent partner jumped from 72 in 2007-8 to 102 in 2008-9 – an increase of 42 per cent.

The Ministry of Justice has pledged only £3.5 million to Rape Crisis services while councils cut far more.

Liverpool has cut its entire funding to Rape Crisis, while three domestic violence services in Devon are fighting to stay open. Services in Hull, North Somerset and Nottinghamshire have all been warned funding may end in 2011.

Also the Welfare Reform Bill will mean that the state will no longer support mothers with young children leaving a relationship – even a violent one.
The Con-Dem coalition is destroying women’s refuges and making it financially impossible for mothers to bring up children on their own. The labour movement must put women’s rights at the very top of their agenda.

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