This a guest blog from Sisters Uncut a new network being set up to highlight cuts to domestic violence services. Find out more here.
Calling all self-defining women who are furious about the impact of cuts to domestic violence services. A group of women from the direct action group UK Uncut are starting a ‘sister’ group – ‘Sisters Uncut.’ We plan to organise solely on the issue of cuts to domestic violence services in the run up to the general election. We need your help!
We are deeply concerned by the impact austerity is having on women. Doors are being closed on women fleeing violence. Refuges are being shut down, money for domestic violence services is shrinking, legal aid has been cut, social housing is scarce and private rents are extortionate. What’s more, local councils are selling out contracts to services who are running them on a shoe string – putting the safety of survivors at risk and deteriorating the working conditions for those who work with abused women. All the while, the number of women who are killed every week due to domestic violence is on the increase.
Austerity is adversely affecting women and is a reflection of gender inequalities within central and local government and the wider culture of misogyny in our society. We want to fight this and we want to do it together and we want to use direct action.
What do we want? Two things: 1. That local authorities provide adequate funding for domestic violence services and this is ring-fenced (meaning they have to spend it on these services). 2. Survivors of domestic violence are given priority when they apply for social housing.
How do we want to achieve this? A consistent campaign of direct action in the lead up to the election E.g. occupations, sit-ins, civil disobedience, road blocks etc. We want this to be relentless, we want women’s voices to be heard, for the powerful and privileged to realise that we’ve had enough of their entitlement and that we demand our rights.
Who do we want to target? Local authorities and the government. Local council budgets have been drastically cut because of decisions made by central government. But local authorities need to be held to account, they are choosing to ignore the needs of women, they are choosing to enable and maintain a culture that holds women responsible for the violence inflicted upon them, they are choosing to ignore women’s needs.
Who are ‘we’? We envision Sisters Uncut as an umbrella group to link up feminist groups and individuals. We want to have regular, open meetings for all self-defining women who wish to get involved. The meetings are for self-defining women so that they can be safe spaces for survivors. Our association with UK Uncut means we can use the UK Uncut platform to generate support, tie in our messaging with UK Uncut’s and draw on the group’s success at mobilising large numbers of people to take direct action against austerity.
Although we have an idea of what we want to achieve and how to make this happen, we would love to get input from a diversity of individuals and groups. We need as many women involved as possible for this to work: its time that we show the government what a real coalition looks like. Please join us for an open meeting where we can discuss all of the above in more detail and begin organising together!
Date: 6 November
Location: Cross Roads Women’s Centre, 25 Wolsey Mews, NW5 2DX
A creche will be provided.