Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the closure of refuges and the withdrawal of funding from services handling domestic and sexual violence a very clear Conservative policy?
Tories don’t want public money spent sorting out domestic issues. They want couples to sort their differences out between them, rather than relying on the state to help them.
Or – more likely – they want abused partners to stay at home, shut up and put up with it. Even if it means their deaths.
It’s cheaper that way.
On Wednesday at PMQs Theresa May claimed that this government has a “very good record on domestic violence”. I’m not certain what record she is referring to, but it’s not one that I recognise.
In the United Kingdom, on average, two women are killed by their current partner or a former partner every week. Children lose their mother, a sibling loses their sister, a woman loses her life, at the hands of (in the main) male violence every three or so days.
Domestic violence and violence against women have increased rapidly between 2009 and 2014, pushing up overall levels of violent crime. Analysis of ONS crime statistics in England and Wales from 2009 onwards shows an increase in domestic violence and violence against women perpetrated by their acquaintances. Violence against women by strangers remains level, and violence against men continues to fall.
As well as making baseless claims of success, this government has chosen to pull the safety net from beneath the feet of women escaping violence. While Theresa May was home secretary, women’s services saw their funding shrink rapidly. Between 2010 and 2012, a third of local authority funding to domestic and sexual violence services was cut. The result? A third of all referrals to refuges are turned away.
Since 2010, we have lost 17% of specialist refuges in England.
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