Appeal to John McDonnell: Help us end destruction of domestic violence services & refuges

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An appeal to John McDonnell: Help us end the destruction of domestic violence services and refuges

Women cannot wait.

At least 139 women were killed in domestic murders last year in England and Wales, more than two a week. Domestic abuse is a life and death issue. Refuges and domestic violence services can offer a chance to escape but these vital lifelines are being cut off.

60% of those seeking a refuge are unable to be housed, most commonly due to lack of space. One in four domestic abuse refuges have lost all government money for therapeutic support. State funding is at its lowest ever levels. The number of support groups available fell by a fifth in the year to May 2018.

We need action now! And councils can take a lead on this.

The 125 Labour-led councils in England, Scotland and Wales hold around £14bn in useable general fund, housing and capital receipts reserves.

We call on Labour councils to reject the Tory cuts that deny women these essential life-saving services and to refuse to make the cuts to this funding. Women’s Lives Matter calls on Labour councils to set budgets based on need, using their reserves and borrowing powers to fund it.

A clear pledge from Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell would give confidence to those Labour councillors who really want to defend women.

Therefore we, the undersigned, call on John McDonnell to guarantee that an incoming Labour government would replenish any reserves a Labour council used to avoid cuts to domestic violence services and refuges now and underwrite borrowing made for the same purpose.

This is urgent. Let’s act now to defend women’s lives.