This year, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is taking place on 25 November.
The last decade of austerity has brought crisis for those feeling domestic violence. Women’s refuges have lost £7 million in funding, cuts by both Labour and Tory councils. Thirty women’s refuges have closed, and the welfare system no longer offers a proper safety net to women trying to leave a violent partner.
Around one in ten women trying to leave a violent relationship will end up sleeping rough before finding accommodation, and about 46% of women sofa-surf while waiting for a place in a refuge.
Due to the lack of support and housing for women leaving a violent relationship just fewer than one in ten women will end up returning to a violent partner because of having nowhere else to go.
Women in violent relationships lose an average of 137 hours work and pay a year, and 10% of women in violent relationships will lose their jobs as a result.
In addition, low pay, precarious and inadequate hours and attacks on benefits undermine the ability of women to be financially independent, a vital issue for women looking to leave violent and abusive relationships.
86% of cuts to the welfare system have come out of women’s pockets. Cuts to social and childcare have pushed these responsibilities back onto women and their families.
The hated Universal Credit has pushed many into debt and hardship. Combining benefit payments into one per household can give total financial control to abusive partners.
Domestic violence services
- No more council cuts
- Restore domestic violence service funding
- Corbyn should guarantee that an incoming Labour government would replenish any reserves Labour councils use to avoid cuts to domestic violence services and refuges now
- Secure funding for all domestic violence refuges and support services, including specialised services where needed
- Build enough council homes with genuinely affordable rents to solve the housing crisis. Everyone has the right to a decent home
- Cap private sector rents
- For specialist-trained staff and high-quality domestic violence awareness training.
- For fully funded, safe and confidential health services to support women experiencing violence and abuse
- Reverse cuts to legal aid
- Access to specialist-trained and high-quality domestic violence solicitors so that no woman is priced out of legal representation
- For specialist-training at all levels of the judiciary and police, with democratic community and working-class oversight, as part of a programme to democratise the justice system through democratic election of judges and police committees
Rights at work and economic independence
- Special leave for women experiencing violence and abuse and safe-guarding from violent partners at work
- End zero-hour and precarious employment practices. Job security and flexibility on workers’ terms
- Decent wages and benefits which start immediately a woman leaves a violent partner
- Scrap Universal Credit
- For affordable and accessible, publicly funded quality child and social care, run in the interests of services users, workers and the community – not for profit