Today is Human Rights Day. It marks the end of #16days of action that began on November 25, the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
Some of the wonderful people working at service and advice centres across the country have written blogs for our website during this time that give an insight from the frontline of this fight.
The services in which they work - providing support and counselling and safe spaces for women and girls whose lives have been turned upside down by domestic abuse, sexual assault, FGM, forced marriages and other forms of violence - are constantly under threat because of inadequate funding and disastrously short-term commissioning processes.
That puts vulnerable people at even greater risk.
On top of that, the current housing crisis is making it increasingly difficult to find enough space to support women through the transition into their own safe, secure and permanent accommodation.
Today I am visiting Greenwich Domestic Violence and Abuse Services, whose staff contributed to our blog series. I am looking forward to meeting women for whom Greenwich DVA’s refuges provide a safe space in which to begin their recovery from trauma and start to rebuild their lives.
I will see first-hand how these spaces save lives.
The Women’s Equality Party is working hard to help these services, all around the country, continue to save lives.
We have set out our own policy commitments to bring about an end to violence against women and girls:
WE aim to ensure that all women and girls who experience sexual, domestic or other violence have access to specialist advocacy and support services
WE will create a fund – more than £800m by 2018-19 – to support the legal aid budget, restoring half of the cuts made in 2012, and providing ring-fenced funds to local authorities for VAWG services
WE will expand services to ensure we can provide a stable place to live for all women and children fleeing domestic abuse, starting with crisis and refuge services and moving into more permanent housing
WE will ensure that access to support services for women who have experienced violence is not dependent on their immigration status
And we think that all parties should unite in their commitment to end violence against women and girls by also committing to sustainable and secure funding that is not put at risk by different political priorities.
Our 16 blogs in 2015 told the story of poor funding, poor planning and poor provision for the women and girls in our country that need us the most.
In 2016, we’d like to tell a different story.