Why cutting women’s services is a false economy

By Annie O’Halloran (aka Pix, to those who view our posts on Facebook)

PLEASE SHARE! Austerity is hitting hardest for women in the UK, people with disabilities, unemployed people, and many other groups.

[content note: sexual assault; domestic violence]

Sure Start centres
Sure Start provide free drop in centres for parents, offering drop-in sessions, access to health visitors and GPs. They provide support groups for parents with learning disabilities, such as conditions on the autistic spectrum, and early intervention via parenting classes for all families. Where children are at risk of being taken into care by Social Services, parents are highly encouraged to take these free classes. It costs the UK taxpayer £2,500 a week to keep one child in the care of social services. On average it costs £7,150 a week to keep one of the 3,500 Sure Start centres open. Without measuring the costs of other benefits, if a Sure Start centre can keep 3 children out of Social Services’ care, they save the taxpayer money. They are an invaluable resource to mothers who have just had a baby, helping them to socialise and lessening the feelings of isolation that can come with being home alone with a new baby. As they are free to all regardless of income level, they help form a sense of social cohesion and community. The intent of these centres when they were set up was to lessen the gap between children from lower income families and their financially better off peers in terms of early performance in the education system. (sources: http://www.fassit.co.uk, http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/apr/24/budget-cuts-surgical-strikes)

Rape crisis centres
Rape crisis centres provide services to people who have experienced sexual assault and rape. A well documented potential consequence of sexual assault is post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as mental illness and drug and alcohol abuse. If a service user of a rape crisis centre decides to go to the police, they are often there as support for court cases and other aspects of the criminal justice system. It is estimated that dealing with the fallout of domestic violence and abuse costs the UK Economy £23 billion. In 2006, the Home Office estimated the cost of sexual abuse and assaults to be four times that amount. Rapes and sexual assaults are heavily under-reported as crimes, and the most common perpetrators are people known to the victims. (source for economic figures: http://www.amnesty.org.uk/uploads/documents/doc_16688.pdf)

Domestic abuse/violence services
These services provide safe escape routes, advice, and support in prosecuting offenders for women and children escaping violent and abusive relationships. Refuge, the biggest charity organisation dealing with this, along with the Home Office stated that in England and Wales two women a week are killed by partners or ex-partners. As stated above, it is estimated that domestic abuse and its effects cost the England and Wales economy £26 billion a year. Women’s Aid estimate that for every £1 spent, £8 is saved, in that there are fewer burdens on the NHS, local services and the benefits system. Domestic abuse and violence has increased 17% since the onset of the recession, yet funding for services has been slashed. Refuge states that 50% of women will experience domestic violence or abuse, sexual assault or stalking in their lifetimes. (sources: http://refuge.org.uk/get-help-now/what-is-domestic-violence/domestic-violence-the-facts, http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/10/31/domestic-violence-rape-crisis-cuts_n_2049137.html)

The cuts to these particular services are a false economy, in financial terms when it comes to the economy. In a long term social sense, they are absolutely invaluable! Austerity isn’t working, and will cost lives and emotional and physical suffering.

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One Billion Rising, Southampton event

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Text in Image: ONE BILLION RISING. STRIKE. DANCE. RISE!

On 14th February 2013, at 7 pm, Hampshire Feminist Collective will join with activists around the world for ONE BILLION RISING, the largest day of action in the history of V-Day, the global activist movement to end violence against women and girls.

ONE BILLION RISING began as a call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than ONE BILLION WOMEN AND GIRLS. On February 14, 2013, V-Day’s 15th anniversary, Hampshire Feminist Collective will join activists, writers, thinkers, celebrities, and women and men across the world as we express their outrage, demand change, strike, dance, and RISE in defiance of the injustices women suffer, demanding an end at last to violence against women.

We will be dancing in Southampton.  Please meet us at 19.00 outside Central Library on Commercial Road, from which we will move into Guildhall Square to get our Dance On!! For the flash mob to work try to get to meeting spot by 19.00, but if you’re running late just look for the group of people dancing in Guildhall Square and join in. To tie in with Valentines Day theme we will be wearing red and it would be great if you could do the same. (Maybe a red hat, scarf, gloves, a bandanna or a umbrella. Anything you can wear while you dance will do!)

Then we’ll be off to a pub/bar/cafe for a social. Probably either: Goblets, The Frog & Parrot (which used to be the Old Fat Cat) or The Art House if they don’t mind us ruining a romantic atmosphere.

Please bring family, partners and friends and join us for a good evening. It should be a nice anti-commercial alternative to Valentine’s Day.  A celebration anyone can join in, regardless of if they’re in a relationship or not!

If you can’t join us in Southampton then don’t let that stop you dancing! We’d love to see photos and videos of people dancing all over the county if you’re willing to share them.

More information about the event and why we’re rising visit the official ONE BILLION RISING website. V-Day is a global movement to end violence against women and girls.