This morning, Sisters Uncut – the feminist direct action group that protests cuts to domestic violence services – blockaded the entrance to the Treasury. Protesters chanted “two women a week are murdered” and “women are dying” while bemused civil servants shuffled politely past them on their way into work.
Sisters Uncut are fighting to protect funding for domestic violence charities in the context of the sweeping government cuts that have been introducing due to austerity. In July 2015, Chancellor George Osborne pledged £13million for domestic violence services. To put that into context, the government has allocated £6bn in funding to repair potholes. Meanwhile, 2 women in the UK die a week as a result of intimate partner violence, according to figures from Women’s Aid.
Sisters Uncut told Dazed “with just two days to go before the Chancellor's budget, Sisters Uncut brought voices of survivors to the doors of the Treasury to demand that domestic violence services be ring-fenced. Sadly, in Osborne’s Britain, a woman’s ability to flee life-threatening violence depends on her postcode. This is because councils fund domestic violence services, but as Osborne has halved council budgets; domestic violence services and the women that desperately need them face a precarious future. We are calling for ring fenced funding and a long-term economic plan for women's safety. Women are not safe if funding is not secure."
Meanwhile, the sad reality is that for many survivors of domestic violence, there's sometimes nowhere left to go when they finally pluck up the courage to leave their abusers.