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From The Socialist newspaper, 11 July 2018

Women's Lives Matter launched in Leeds to fight domestic violence service cuts

End violence against women!, photo Louise Whittle

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

Nina Brown, Leeds Socialist Party

After it was reported that services protecting women against domestic violence in Leeds have been cut by 59%, we helped call a public meeting to launch 'Women's Lives Matter' in Leeds.

Members of Leeds Socialist Party have been actively supporting the Women's Live Matter campaign in Doncaster against cuts to South Yorkshire Women's Aid as reported in the Socialist.

The Leeds meeting aimed to share ideas, gather information, and start planning how we can secure more than just scraps of funding. 19 people attended, including workers from the services facing cuts, women who were previous service users, a Labour councillor, NHS workers, teachers and other campaigners.

Socialist Party member Amy Cousens, who played a key role in the Doncaster campaign, introduced the discussion. On average two women a week are murdered by a male partner or ex-partner. A further three kill themselves to escape abuse.

Domestic violence is Shelter's single most quoted reason for homelessness. And 1,000 women and children were turned away from refuges in a six-month period in 2017. These were just a few of the harsh realities of austerity Amy highlighted.

The Labour councillor, Al Garthwaite, stated that supporting domestic violence services was a priority, and described those currently available. She expressed frustration with austerity, but called for passionate fundraisers like those in the room to fund the services instead.

We asked why she was happy asking us, service users and working people, to source funding for vital, life-saving services. Garthwaite maintained the council has asked the government not to make it make these cuts. She insisted there was nothing more she could do.

How about using reserves and borrowing powers to cover the gap - and building a campaign to fight for funding instead of just begging?

Throughout the meeting there were insightful contributions. From service users who had not spoken at meetings before, to organisers from successful campaigns such as 'Save Fearnville Fields'.

We discussed ideas such as addressing period poverty by fighting to improve wages and making feminine hygiene products affordable for all women - in comparison to a pipeline scheme for free tampon dispensers in schools.

The meeting decided to set up a Facebook group for those interested in being involved. We plan to leaflet about the current threats to services, and coordinate further meetings and actions.

Ultimately, not investing in public services - domestic violence support, the NHS, education, with living wages - is a false economy. We need a societal shift to socialist policies.

Corbyn's 2017 manifesto gave us a glimpse of this: mass council and social housing, a 10 an hour minimum wage, a fully publicly funded NHS. Alongside campaigns like Women's Lives Matter, we hope to work towards a society that invests in services and people; to create a society where all women's lives matter.

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In The Socialist 11 July 2018:


What we think

Tories in crisis - Act now to get them out!


News

600 more retail jobs on the line: workers must not pay for the bosses' high street crunch!

Britain bakes as water pipelines leak

Minister's benefits lie: sack the Tories - and scrap universal credit

Them & Us


Trump and the US

Hit the streets against Trump and capitalism

US: "We've had to build a huge culture of resistance"


NSSN conference

NSSN conference 2018: Mood for fighting action and coordination


Workplace

Big victory for Wigan NHS strike against privatisation

Campaign in full flow to squeeze out every last Yes vote in pay ballot

Hackney traffic wardens strike for better pay and protection at work

Summer of discontent on the cards in Huddersfield bin workers' dispute

Tyneside shopfitting plant lays off 61 workers

Unite conference sees union go in a fighting, socialist direction

Pressure building on councillors to stop fire service cuts

Tram workers strike against 'derisory' pay offer


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Stop the FLA - No to racism

Women's Lives Matter launched in Leeds to fight domestic violence service cuts

Service users and families protest learning disability service cuts

NHS Leeds: Campaigners halt outsourcing... for now

Yes to NHS - No to PFI!

Tories fractured... election possibility... give us the resources!

Issue 1000 drive shows sales potential


 

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Related links:

Domestic violence:

triangleRefuges turn away 64% of women - set no-cuts budgets now!

triangleCuts to women's services cost lives

triangleInternational Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

triangleCynical Tories' domestic violence bill not enough

triangleDomestic abuse accommodation: Tories shift - but safety is more than a bed

Women:

triangleEast London Socialist Party: The fight for equality for women today

triangleCaerphilly Socialist Party: Campaigning against the cuts & for women's rights

triangleUnnecessary surgery scandal shows need for democratic control of NHS

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: International women's day

Leeds:

triangleSixth-form strikers stand firm for increased funding

triangleWestex carpet strike

triangleLeeds Socialist Party: Japan - has Abenomics delivered?

Cuts:

triangleCaerphilly Socialist Party: Cuts and climate change cause floods

triangleStop Newham Labour's cuts and gentrification

Socialist:

triangleEast London Socialist Party: What are the protests in the Middle East about?

Council:

triangleHackney parking wardens strike for 15 an hour

Doncaster:

triangleBradford NHS workers strike against privatisation

Yorkshire:

triangleWestex workers win increased pay offer in 11th week of strike

Shelter:

triangleHousing - bold, socialist measures necessary

South Yorkshire:

triangle"If you think bus and rail services are crap, sign our petition to take them back"

Homelessness:

triangleUnsafe, unaffordable housing scandal

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