International Women’s Day: Women’s Aid launches petition to require local authorities to fund women’s domestic abuse services

Sign the petition here and share with your networks to support our vital campaign to protect women’s refuges and local domestic abuse services.

On International Women’s Day, the national domestic abuse charity Women’s Aid is launching a petition to the government to ask that it requires local authorities to fund lifesaving women’s domestic abuse services. The petition asks the government to do this in response to the fact that domestic abuse is a gendered crime, and that women are the majority of victims and the vast majority of severe injury and domestic homicide victims.

This petition follows a number of Women’s Aid member services losing local authority funding, most recently RISE in Brighton, which lost a £5.1 million seven-year contract, after providing refuge and domestic abuse services in the local area for over 25 years. Women’s Aid last month released the report Fragile Funding Landscape which shows that over 1 in 5 domestic refuge services are running without local authority funding, with refuge spaces for Black and minoritised women being far more likely to be unfunded.

Farah Nazeer, chief executive of Women’s Aid, said
“Today, we are launching an emergency petition to the government, because we are seeing established women-led domestic abuse services lose local authority funding. This has to be stopped before it leads to more women and children dying. Our local Women’s Aid member services around the country are saving the lives of women and children every day, and many have been running for decades. The decision by some local authorities  to commission ‘gender-neutral’ services disregards the evidence that women experience the most severe domestic abuse; are more likely to be killed by their abuser; and that women experiencing domestic abuse need access to women-only support. Women need to trust a service and feel safe to be able access support, especially if they are leaving their home to move into a refuge with their children. Many will be living with long-term trauma, and will need specialist support to rebuild their lives.

 

The domestic abuse bill reaches report stage today in the House of Lords, and although the bill requires councils to fund accommodation for survivors, nowhere does it mention the words ‘women’s refuges’. Coupled with the current government plan to separate domestic abuse from the Violence Against Women and Girls strategy, this will only serve to encourage more ‘gender neutral’ responses to domestic abuse. 91% of domestic violence crimes that cause injuries are against women, and three women every fortnight are being killed by a current or former partner in the UK.  Women-led domestic abuse services are under threat, and there will be severe consequences for women and children if we do not stop this now.”

Sign the petition here and share with your networks to support our vital campaign to protect women’s refuges and local domestic abuse services.

 

© 2020 Women's Aid Federation of England – Women’s Aid is a company limited by guarantee registered in England No: 3171880.

Women’s Aid is a registered charity in England No. 1054154

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