A Pox on the Patriarchy
In the past year, an estimated 1.3 million women have been victims of domestic abuse.
The police receive a domestic violence related call every 30 seconds. Every week, an average of two women are killed by their partner or ex-partner.
And in Westminster, the much watered-down Domestic Abuse Bill is torturously snaking its way through parliament. Repeatedly delayed, in no small part thanks to the malingering presence of Brexit, the government is due to define domestic abuse in law for the first time any day now. The intent is for women to have a better chance of receiving justice — and protection against violence.
Violence against women services are still, as they have been since the coalition government first started slashing spending in 2010, in crisis. Local authorities have cut funding for refuges by at least £7 million since 2010, and one in six domestic abuse refuges have closed due to lack of funding. More than one in 10 of the domestic abuse services responding to Women’s Aid’s annual survey had no local authority funding at all in 2016/17 and 60% of referrals to refuges had to be turned down for lack of space. That’s more than 10,000 women, many of them accompanied by children, who were left with nowhere else to turn.
In desperation, increasing numbers of women are taking to sleeping rough. Some of them return to their violent partner. Some of them are killed.
You might think, then, that this Domestic Abuse Bill can’t come soon enough. But as with so many of this government’s initiatives when it comes to women, this Bill may never progress beyond promising-sounding words, because unless it comes with additional and, crucially, sustainable funding for violence against women services, all it may end up doing is putting increased strain on an already overloaded sector.
Continue reading this article at The New European