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Shutting down women’s refuges because they don’t take men is callous & absurd

21924131_sThe Tories’ ideological zeal to do away with all forms of public service and to provide replacements via competitive tendering processes and other market devices has now hit women’s refuges. It’s hard to think of a more inappropriate and contrarian idea when this gratuitously puts women’s lives at risk. To do so when the excuse is that refuges do not take men when 99% of cases of domestic violence are perpetrated by men against women only rubs salt into the wound. Specialist safe houses for women and children have been in existence now for over 40 years and there have been 3 parliamentary inquiries in 1975, 1992 and 2008 all of which argued that the provision of national refuges must a priority for any government.

The government tries to evade responsibility by saying it’s all a matter for local authorities, knowing perfectly well that they have imposed cuts of 40% on their budgets which inevitably means that vital services like women’s refuges will in many areas be squeezed out. The reasons given for either closure or limitation on the use of refuges are pitiful. Either time limits are imposed on the length of stay or on the numbers of non-local women permitted to stay in them, or the funding is cut because refuges don’t take men (which is preposterous when the threat is overwhelmingly directed at women), or refuges are replaced by preventive work and support in the community (which is no safeguard whatever against really violent men), or they’re replaced by larger housing associations or even businesses which have no concept of the need for specialist therapeutic support for women at risk of being killed, or refuges are being closed with no alternative arrangements being put in place at all.

This dire process of abandoning women at risk of their lives is being driven by two pressures – deep cuts in the whole fabric of the Welfare State and a relentless ideology of subjecting all public services to unremitting market forces. The one-eyed Tories just don’t see, or don’t want to see, that the market, given its commercial profit-seeking ethos, will never provide the selfless service and devotion and long-term care that so many of these traumatised women need. For the Tories public service is anathema while the market is uber alles. These women are being abandoned in exactly the same way, and for the same reasons, as the disabled were abandoned to market forces by the closure of the Remploy factories and the administration of a wilfully cruel work capability assessment system. It is an ugly philosophy and one that demands complete reversal after the next election.

Image Copyright: loganban / 123RF Stock Photo

2 Comments

  1. Robert says:

    It is wrong I agree but well it’s been coming.

  2. swatantra says:

    Its a shame that they’re being shut down; they are a temporary respite for women and their children to get their lives back together after domestic upheavals. But the responsibility also lies with society itself that turns a blind eye to violence in all walks onf life on the screen in books on the football field in rap music and the legalisation of drugs. The real question is or should be about prevention, not anbout trying to patch individuals and things after the event.
    Yes its about Rights, but its also about Responsibilities too, and the question of instilling Responsibilities has never ever been adressed by any Party before.,

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