Anti-austerity

U.K. activist group blocks bridges while protesting cuts to domestic violence services

Members of Sisters Uncut demonstrate at the red carpet premiere of Suffragette at Odeon Leicester Square on October 7, 2015 in London, England. ( Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)

Sisters Uncut, an anti-domestic violence group, shut down bridges across the U.K. while protesting against austerity measures that have cut services catering to women of color.

According to The Guardian, around 600 women converged on bridges in London, Newcastle, Bristol, and Glasgow on Sunday. The police were present, but no arrests were made.

Prime Minister Theresa May has pledged 20 million pounds in temporary funding to domestic violence services, but Sister Uncut has dismissed the sum as a “sticking plaster on a haemorrhage.” In a statement titled “You Block Our Bridges, So We Block Yours,” the group said, “Many of the services lost in austerity were set up and run by women of colour for women of colour, because generic services did not meet their needs. Those needs remain unmet, and women of colour and migrant survivors remain more likely to be trapped in violence, without any support.”

Black and minority ethnic (BME) women who have been subjected to domestic violence prefer to seek help from specialist organizations that cater to women of color.  But according to Sisters Uncut, “most of the support services destroyed by austerity were those supporting African and Caribbean and Asian communities, and LGBT+ people.”

A report by Women’s Aid, another anti-domestic violence organization in the U.K., found that two in three survivors are turned away by shelters, due to reasons like lack of space, language barriers, and an inability to meet victims’ needs. The numbers are much higher among BME women, with support services turning away four out of five survivors.

In their statement, Sisters Uncut quotes a member identified only as “Nadine,” who proclaims that as  “domestic violence services shrink, Sisters Uncut will continue to grow. We will not stand by as black and brown survivors are left stranded in abusive homes without the bridges to safety provided by specialist domestic violence services, whilst migrant survivors […] find all of their bridges blocked by the government’s immigration policies.”

Read the full story at The Guardian.

 

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