Another day, another reminder that women in this supposedly post-feminist age aren’t receiving the help and support they need in the face of rape and domestic violence.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has rightly deplored the findings that over 100 local councils do not provide adequate support to victims of rape and domestic violence, and that it amounts to an undeclared war on women. Damn right it does. From The Guardian:
More than 100 councils will today be threatened with legal action over their failure to provide rape crisis centres and domestic violence support services, with a strongly worded warning issued by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
Research reveals that one in four local authorities in Britain offer no specialised services for women who have faced violence or abuse, and shows that a quarter of those rape crisis centres that are still operating believe they will either have to close or radically cut services in 2009.
The findings, published jointly by the EHRC and the End Violence Against Women campaign, offer a stark illustration of the large areas of the country where there is now no provision at all.
The research shows that those services that do exist are losing their battle to secure long-term funding both from the state and from charitable sources. Trevor Phillips, chair of the EHRC, said: “In many parts of the country, services for women who have experienced violence are chronically underfunded or simply do not exist. Women shouldn’t be subjected to this postcode lottery.
“Urgent action is needed to provide funding and support to ensure that all women can get help whenever they need it – wherever they live.”
The Local Government Association are covering their backsides by saying that the findings are “alarmist”. Well yes, and so they should be. Do I have to say AGAIN that rape and domestic violence is the biggest cause of death to women in the world?
The LGA say that taking legal action won’t do anything to change the situation. Perhaps that is true. But publicising the fact that thousands of women do not receive any support from their local government can only help to change things. So let’s keep talking about it.