At the start of a global campaign to highlight violence against women and girls, Sophie Walker, leader of the Women’s Equality Party (WE), will visit a domestic violence service in south London today
“Today, 25 November, is the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women,” says Ms Walker, who will meet staff and clients at Greenwich DV Services. “It marks the start of 16 days of action against gender-based violence, and falls on the day of the government’s spending review.
“WE are calling for an end to government cuts to vital services,” she continues. “The cuts to legal aid that started in 2012 have disproportionately affected women, preventing survivors of domestic abuse from getting justice
Recent closures, such as to the charity Eaves, have highlighted serious problems with the way commissioning for VAWG services is being conducted. “There is evidence that non-specialist organisations are winning tenders based on cost rather than quality, leaving women even more vulnerable,” says Ms Walker.
“WE will create an £800m fund by scrapping the Married Couples’ Tax Allowance, using this money to reverse the cuts to legal aid, as well as channeling funds to support those women and children who are currently finding little or no support as they flee violence at home.”
She notes that last year, on one day alone, 84 children and 112 women were turned away from a refuge because of a lack of space – a problem that could be eliminated by reliable and consistent government funding.
“As George Osborne announces the details of his government’s Spending Review this morning, WE call on him to provide crucial support to women and girls in undeniable need,” says Ms Walker. “Survivors and support workers deserve sustained and sustainable funding. WE will guarantee it. What will this government do?”
The Women’s Equality Party is committed to ending 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