The Brighton Green Party has called for the protection of funding for local services that prevent domestic and sexual violence.
The ‘Time for Unity’ conference, which took place on Tuesday (19 November), celebrated Brighton Women’s Centre’s 45th year by honouring the role of regional and national groups in promoting gender equality and preventing gender-based violence.
Funding for such groups is being increasingly stretched, with incidents of domestic violence rising year on year in Brighton. According to recent reports, support providers are often working up to 140 per cent above capacity.
Last year, Green Councillors and campaigners put pressure on the Labour Council to abandon plans to cut £50,000 from local domestic and sexual violence support. Ahead of the next council budget-setting round, Greens have called for the council to guarantee financial certainty for the future of valuable support networks such as the Brighton Women’s Centre and Brighton-based charity RISE.
Green Councillor Lizzie Deane, who attended the conference, commented: “Time for Unity conference has brought together people from across the spectrum of organisations and agencies that support all those affected by domestic abuse and gender inequality.
“As a key partner, the council has an important role to play in supporting survivors of abuse, whether it be financial support or simply helping people make their voices heard. We renew our call, and hope that all parties commit to protecting funding for the future.”
Green Councillor Phélim MacCafferty added: “The Brighton Women’s Centre conference this week has reminded us of the ongoing push for equality. The London School of Economics calculated that a massive £26 billion of government cuts have been shouldered by women over the last decade – whether that’s directly, through cuts to services like refuges and children’s centres, or indirectly, in areas such as library and bus route closures.
“Austerity has forced many councils to cut provision but all the evidence tells us many organisations that support survivors of abuse are at breaking point. As decision makers for our city, we hope that all councillors demonstrate support for such vital services. Looking ahead to the next council budget, we urge the Labour Council to ensure that those already struggling are spared the pain of yet more cuts. Today, Greens make a public plea that organisations providing essential services – such as the Brighton Women’s Centre – are given the resources they need to continue their invaluable work.”
The Green Party’s election manifesto, launched on Tuesday (19 November), has pledged to roll back the cuts to domestic violence support centres and women’s refuges, and increase funding to provide more safe and secure accommodation for women and their children. The party also proposes to make misogyny a hate crime across the UK and increase the police’s capacity to deal with domestic violence and misogynistic hate crimes.
The manifesto also details plans to develop and implement a UK-wide strategy to tackle gender-based violence, including domestic violence, rape and sexual abuse, female genital mutilation (FGM) and trafficking. As part of this, the Greens pledge to reverse cuts to legal aid to prevent survivors being forced to represent themselves against their abusers in court and introduce a new Domestic Abuse Bill to enable prosecution of economic abuse.
In its approach to issues of gender equality, the party acknowledges the importance of an intersectional approach – which considers overlapping aspects of identity such as race, class and sexuality – to recognise the groups of women who are most at risk of violence.
You can read the Green Party’s manifesto in full on the party’s website.