Feminist campaigners block entrance to Treasury in protest
A GROUP of young women blocked the entrance to the Treasury yesterday in protest at Chancellor George Osborne’s budget cuts to domestic violence services.
Members of feminist direct action group Sisters Uncut demanded the ring-fencing of funds for support programmes and women’s shelters.
Treasury officials were stopped from entering the building by a handful of women, one of whom was reportedly assaulted by a man who called her a “vile bitch.”
Domestic violence support worker Tara Adams said she had decided to take part in the protest because the Chancellor “has used his budgets to create a ‘permanent pothole fund,’ but domestic violence services are still being forced to struggle with short-term, shallow pots of cash.
“Women are not safe if funding is not secure.”
There are fears that further cuts to already endangered domestic violence services will be revealed when Mr Osborne announces this year’s Budget tomorrow.
Across Britain, charities and local services have lost 30 per cent of their funding since the Conservatives took power in 2010.
One in three women are said to be turned away from the few refuges left due to lack of space.
Sisters Uncut member Kat Vail said: “We have a very basic demand: the government must ring-fence funding for domestic violence services.
“This is the only way to make sure they can stay running and keep saving women’s lives.
“Domestic violence is high in the UK — one in three women will experience it — yet services that support survivors are being forced to close because the government won’t put a secure funding plan in place.”
Protester Rachel Gibbons, whose hair was pulled by a man attempting to enter the Treasury building, said she was “disturbed.”
“People should be angry about the fact that women are dying because they can’t flee abuse, not about us desperately calling for the government to sustainably fund services that can save their lives.”
The police were called, but officers made no arrests and the Sisters Uncut campaigners left the scene peacefully.
The Treasury declined to give a reaction on the events, passing on the responsibility to the Home Office, which also failed to comment.