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From: The Socialist issue 1059, 9 October 2019: Cutting, lying Tories - kick them out! General election now!

Search site for keywords: Domestic violence - Tories - Women - Cuts - Council

Cynical Tories' domestic violence bill not enough

photo (public domain)

photo (public domain)   (Click to enlarge)

Heather Rawling, Leicester Socialist Party

How do you leave a violent partner? Well you need guts for a start, as many are attacked or even killed after leaving abusive relationships. 55% of women killed by their ex-partner in 2017 died within the first month of separation, and 87% in the first year (Femicide Census, 2018).

But for working-class women especially, it needs resources - initially somewhere to escape to, and then somewhere to call home. Money to buy clothes and furniture, as many women flee with nothing, childcare facilities, a minimum wage of 12 an hour or decent benefits without a punitive sanction system.

Many will also need counselling for themselves and their children to overcome the trauma.

The Tories have introduced a Domestic Abuse Bill which is currently having its second reading in parliament. They say that the purpose of the bill is to raise awareness and understanding of domestic abuse and its impact on victims. They claim it will provide protection for domestic abuse victims and bring perpetrators to justice, and that the bill will 'seek to strengthen the support' provided by other statutory agencies.

There are some positive aspects to the bill, including broadening the statutory government definition of domestic abuse to include economic control and coercive behaviour. But, in reality, it is a cynical attempt to appear to be doing something about domestic violence while at the same time cutting back on the very services and support that women need to escape. A paltry 34-43 million has been allocated to pay for the bill

Since 2010, councils in England, Wales and Scotland have cut nearly 7 million from refuges alone. And the situation is getting worse: an estimated 21,084 referrals to all refuges in England were refused in 2017-18 because there was insufficient funding or no space for the victim.

Yet in the year ending March 2018, an estimated 2 million adults aged 16 to 59 years experienced domestic abuse. (1.3 million women and 695,000 men).

Councils have also slashed public services that would enable women to escape. Corbyn has promised a programme of council house building. Women's Lives Matter is fighting for resources and a reversal of the cuts. But they cannot do it alone.

Corbyn and the trade union leaders should be mobilising workers to defend public services, demand that Labour councils refuse to make cuts, and fight for a massive programme of council house building. With better provision, women would not be forced to endure domestic violence and abuse.

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

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.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • 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.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

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