Rising violence against women gives voters stark choice, by Dawn Foster
Take Theresa May at her word: judge the Tory record on housing and cuts to domestic violence services that have left thousands of women more at risk
In 2008, a Conservative MP launched a policy called fair play on equal pay, claiming the party was willing to take action on the gender pay gap if elected. That MP, Theresa May, went on to become prime minister and in the current election, after failing to show up for a BBC debate, sent the home secretary Amber Rudd on her place to ask voters to “judge [the Conservatives] on their record”.
The evidence on equal pay is not in her favour: the Office for National Statistics pointed out last year that the pay gap has changed little in the last five years.
On domestic violence, May’s record is even worse. This week, May pledged to introduce new laws to combat domestic violence, creating a new aggravated offence when domestic violence is directed at children. There was nothing stopping May from proposing these laws during the six years she spent as home secretary: instead she presided over rampant cuts to domestic violence services, with a third of funding to local authority services cut. Since 2010, 17% of specialist refuge services have closed, and a third of women have been turned away – 103 children and 155 women a day.
Meanwhile, under May’s tenure, the rate of violent crime against women rose, from 2009 to 2014, despite dropping in the 15 previous years. Research by the Women’s Resource Centre found that 95% of women’s organisations had experienced cuts, a rate that rises to 100% for BME women’s organisations. If we judge the Conservatives on their record, it’s clear they cannot be trusted to care for those who wish to flee domestic violence. ...
Inspired by our participation with the Write to End Violence Against Women awards organised by Zero Tolerance, we are now collecting examples of good journalism about domestic and sexual violence and abuse to make it clear that it is possible to write about DSVA without resorting to myths, misrepresentations, minimisation and victim blaming.Download this post as PDF? Click here