Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1079/30484
The Socialist 25 March 2020 |
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Coronavirus and domestic violence: a double threat to women's lives
Womens Lives Matter campaigners fighting for domestic violence services, photo Iain Dalton (Click to enlarge)
As we entered 2020 the number of women murdered every week by a partner or ex-partner in the UK rose to three. On top of this, three women a week kill themselves to escape abuse.
For women who need to self-isolate and are experiencing domestic violence the situation is particularly dangerous. In China in February domestic violence cases reported to the police tripled. In the US the domestic violence national hotline has seen a huge increase in calls.
As Covid-19 forces us indoors in the UK, women and all victims of domestic violence are at risk.
There have been vicious cuts to domestic violence services and refuges.
Two-thirds of referrals to refuges are rejected. They are overrun and overstretched, with a lack of secure funding.
The Women's Lives Matter campaign, which the Socialist Party participates in, has launched a national petition to demand the resources to support victims of domestic violence during the Covid-19 crisis.
The campaign is demanding emergency funds to be made available for those fleeing violence, with immediate provision of transport, food etc. Emergency measures to safely house victims in empty hotel rooms and B&Bs, and the appropriation of empty properties. Substantial funding for existing domestic violence refuges, and replacing the refuge places that have been cut under austerity.
In reality, these are basic demands that women fleeing violence should already have access to.
For women and children fleeing violence there's been nothing but cut after cut. But the pockets run deep when it comes to helping the rich keep their profits. The government has shown with its measures to protect business that there is the money there to fully fund refuges. But they won't act without a fight.