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From The Socialist newspaper, 20 November 2019

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

What policies are needed to end domestic violence and abuse?

End violence against women!, photo Louise Whittle

End violence against women!, photo Louise Whittle   (Click to enlarge)

Helen Pattison, Socialist Party national committee

This year, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November) is taking place during the UK general election campaign.

With the possibility of the election of a Corbyn-led government, this is an ideal opportunity for campaigners, socialists and domestic violence service users and staff to set out the policies that would be necessary to help women experiencing domestic violence and abuse.

Two women killed a week

Reforms have been won by the labour movement, socialists and women that have challenged oppression, inequality, sexism, domestic violence and abuse.

Yet two women a week are killed by a current or ex-partner, and many women suffer in silence.

People have had to fight for everything including the NHS, holiday, maternity and sick pay. Women's domestic violence services were also hard fought for.

The Campaign Against Domestic Violence was launched by Militant, the forerunner of the Socialist Party, in the early 1990s and involved trade unions and other organisations.

They won important legal changes and protections for women suffering violence and abuse.

But the last decade of capitalism in crisis has threatened many hard-won reforms. Women's refuges have lost 7 million in funding, cut by both Labour and Tory councils.

30 women's refuges have closed, and the welfare system no longer offers a proper safety net to women trying to leave a violent partner.

Around one in ten women trying to leave a violent relationship will end up sleeping rough before finding accommodation, and about 46% of women sofa-surf while waiting for a place in a refuge.

Due to the lack of support and housing for women leaving a violent relationship just fewer than one in ten women will end up returning to a violent partner because of having nowhere else to go.

Workers' rights have also been under attack from successive governments. The rise of zero-hour contracts and precarious working conditions can leave all workers feeling vulnerable in the workplace, especially women who need adjustments because of trying to leave a violent partner.

Women in violent relationships lose an average of 137 hours work and pay a year, and 10% of women in violent relationships will lose their jobs as a result.

In addition, low pay, precarious and inadequate hours and attacks on benefits undermine the ability of women to be financially independent, a vital issue for women looking to leave violent and abusive relationships.

86% of cuts to the welfare system have come out of women's pockets. Cuts to social and childcare have pushed these responsibilities back onto women and their families.

The hated Universal Credit has pushed many into debt and hardship. Combining benefit payments into one per household can give total financial control to abusive partners.

Many Tories and their rich and powerful backers may no longer feel able to express blatant sexism. Theresa May even called herself a feminist.

But austerity and a system in crisis is responsible for the cuts in services that have so cruelly impacted on women.

Years of cuts

May's Domestic Violence Bill came weeks before she left office after years of cuts, leading to the closure of refuges, the front line of support for women leaving violent relationships

Socialists, services users and staff should use this general election to outline what is really needed to defend women's rights and their lives. A programme for women suffering domestic violence and abuse must campaign on more than expanding the limited number of refuges and beds

Ultimately though, we don't just want services which support women fleeing violent relationships; we want a socialist society which drastically changes women's position and brings about an end to sexism, inequality and oppression.

Here are some important points to highlight in the general election campaign:

Domestic violence services
Legal rights
Rights at work and economic independence
Socialism

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 20 November 2019:


What we think

High Court injunction: solidarity to the CWU

CWU - ground laid for an almighty struggle


Climate change

Major funding for flood risk management needed


NHS

Save the NHS: kick out the Tories

Frimley NHS Trust: Strikers remain determined to defeat privatisation


Violence against women

What policies are needed to end domestic violence and abuse?


Socialist Party news and analysis

Broadband: privatisation has failed to deliver, time for a socialist plan

Bolton university fire: government inaction puts safety at risk

Wages flatline, while shareholders profit


Workplace news and analysis

UCU pay and pension strike: university staff have had enough

West Midlands Trains: guards strike to defend safety-critical role

PCS union: elect Marion Lloyd!

Cleaners strike over low pay at Haringey secondary school

Bradford library and museum strikers enter third round of strike action

Long hours in the world of security

NEU members' sixth-form walkouts


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Secret police infiltration of workers' movement exposed

150 protest against Leicester hospital downgrading attack

Carmarthenshire union demands no-cuts budget

Swansea: students protest against Hillary Clinton hypocrisy

Keep the National Poetry Library free

Selling the Socialist


Readers' opinion

The Socialist Inbox


International socialist news and analysis

Amazon bosses defeated in Seattle - Kshama Sawant reelected

Chile revolt continues: read eyewitness report


 

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Related links:

Violence against women:

triangleSouth Africa: Working class unity to stop violence against women

triangleWeinstein found guilty

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: The fight against low pay

triangleViolence against women in South Africa

triangleA socialist programme to end women's oppression

Domestic violence:

triangleSocialist Party national women's meeting

triangleEngels on the origins of women's oppression

triangle20 days. One town. Four domestic violence murders.

triangleDomestic violence murder

Women:

triangleSocialist Party national women's meeting: Perspectives for women and class struggle in Britain

triangleWest London Socialist Party: What are the roots of women's oppression?

triangleScotland: Campaign wins end to period poverty

Cuts:

triangleLondoners suffer and Khan piles on pressure

triangleNottingham City Council: Major battles against cuts ahead

Oppression:

triangleNigeria protests shake regime

Feminist:

triangleSpanish state: Historic 8 March action

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