subscribe: Posts | Comments

UK government cuts leave vulnerable women out in the cold


Laura Bridgestock
WVoN co-editor

The devastating impact of UK government cuts on services for vulnerable women was revealed in a major new report this week.

Last year Women’s Aid was forced to turn away an average of 230 women every day due to lack of space, according to the report  – around nine per cent of those seeking refuge with the organisation.

The charity provides support for women and children across the UK, largely depending on local governments for funding.

In Scotland alone, 84 per cent of Women’s Aid groups reported reduced or standstill budgets in 2011. As the charity was already stretched, this has meant it is now unable to meet the needs of women and children seeking help.

On one day Scottish Women’s Aid reports 54 women (and their 51 children) requested refuge. There was only space for 17 (and their 24 children).

Eaves, another charity supporting women who have been victims of various kinds of violence, has also been hard hit.

A 95 per cent funding reduction for its Poppy Project has meant the loss of 39 bed spaces for women recovering from sexual trafficking.

In February last year, Eaves chief executive Denise Marshall returned the OBE she had received in 2007, on the grounds that it felt “dishonourable and wrong” to keep an award for providing services that the organisation could no longer continue.

Other refuge providers have been similarly affected.

The new report was commissioned by Trust for London and the Northern Rock Foundation. As well as vulnerable women being left without refuge, it shows that cuts significantly reduce women’s and children’s services including legal aid and advice, and access to police officers trained in domestic abuse cases.

Organisations such as the Women’s Resource Centre, which provides training, resources and support for women’s groups, have also been forced to reduce their services.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *