Amongst the services threatened by the City Council’s budget cuts is Southampton’s Women’s Aid Centre. Rhiannon Clare Frame-Jones, SU Feminist Society’s Publicity Officer, presents the case for protecting the centre and gives some advice on how to complain about the cutbacks .
This Thursday the 17th February, the local council will consider whether or not to award Southampton’s Women’s’ Aid centre financial grants to enable them to keep the helpline open and their outreach program running.
The service provided by organisations such as Women’s Aid is absolutely vital. At least two women are killed by their partner or ex partner every week in the UK, and a quarter of women will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime. Nationally, centres offer confidential assistance to women and children who are victims of domestic abuse.
However, Southampton’s Women’s Aid Centre is under threat from budget cuts which will all but immobilize its services, leaving many vulnerable women and children without the support they deserve.
The Council Officers have recommended that the council only fund around half of the money requested by Women’s Aid for their outreach program, and none of the funding needed for the Volunteering Co-ordinator, who runs the helpline, as well as other schemes within the centre. This means that from the end of March, Southampton’s Women’s Aid centre will no longer be able to run the helpline that is such a crucial facility, and other resources will be very much depleted.
Southampton’s Women’s Aid centre should not be crippled by budget cuts, and as such Southampton University Feminist Society would like to ask everybody to write a letter to their local ward councillors expressing their concern at the proposed cut in funding to an essential service. A template letter is provided below:
Dear Councillor Cunio
I wish to complain about the proposal to withdraw the funding from Southampton’s Women’s Aid centre. Cutting the funding of the most effective means of reaching women and children in abusive relationships, the helpline, will surely endanger many victims of domestic abuse. I understand the need to cut funding but I feel the removal of the Volunteer Co-ordinator is counterproductive and lacks forethought.
Thank you for reading my letter
Your local ward councillor and contact details can be found here:
Your ‘ward’ is the area in which you live, for example Portswood. The ward councillors for Portswood are Councillors Capozzoli, Sollitt and Vinson.
Southampton University Feminist Society will be running a local music charity gig in the near future, a portion of the proceeds of which will go Southampton Women’s Aid.