Organisations working to protect women and children from domestic abuse fear that their work could be severely curtailed by funding cuts.
Last week, Women’s Aid workers and supporters from all over Scotland gathered outside the Scottish Parliament. They brought with them silhouettes to represent the women and children who are rarely able to speak out in public about what they need from services, and to remind MSPs that women and children need services because they are not safe at home
The lobby was addressed by Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie, who chairs the Scottish Parliament’s Cross Party Group on the issue.
“We have campaigned for many years to ensure that women and children suffering abuse get support and when needed, refuge to keep them safe. A lot of good work is being done by local authorities, health services, police and others, to raise awareness and help prevent abuse occurring, but we cannot talk of prevention without providing refuge for those in danger. When we are looking at cuts, we need to remember that any saving at the expense of refuge space, not only adds to the suffering of those seeking escape, but may also lead to other costs – hospitalisation, children in care, and don’t forget that 40% of all murders of women are by a partner or ex-partner.
“I am very concerned about the impact that cuts will have on women, children and young people who experience domestic abuse, and in particular the impact on services of losing three key funding streams – the Violence Against Women Fund, the Children’s Services Fund, and the Rape Crisis Specific Fund. The Scottish Government cannot simply expect local authorities, already under enormous pressure, to step in and fill the gap. Ministers need to ensure that funding is made available for these essential services”
The lobby of parliament marked the start of four weeks of local lobbying across Scotland, with events organised by local Women’s Aid groups in partnership with Scottish Women’s Aid.