Concern at funding threat facing Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights's anti-violence groups

Ealing Council’s decision to withdraw funding from a specialist black and ethnic minority Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s organisation could have serious and long-lasting implications for similar services across the UK, and may also be in breach of race and gender equality duties, said two campaigning organisations today.

The warning - by the End Violence Against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights Coalition and Amnesty International UK - came at the start of a two-day legal challenge brought by Southall Black Sisters who are appealing the Council’s decision to withdraw the funding of their organisation.

End Violence Against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights Coalition Manager Holly Dustin said:

"We are extremely concerned about Ealing Council's decision to withdraw funding from Southall Black Sisters - a community organisation that has decades of experience in tackling violence against minority Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights, including forced marriage and honour-based violence.

“This case highlights a national funding crisis in the sector; less than one in ten local authorities across the UK have services for minority Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and existing services are facing severe funding cuts.

“Local authorities across Britain should be aware that they too face legal action under the race and gender equality duties if they do not ensure that Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights experiencing violence have access to the specialist support they need."

As well as providing resources and support for Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights from black and ethnic minority communities who are at risk of abuse, Southall Black Sisters is also a successful policy and campaigning organisation.

Earlier this year Southall Black Sisters published a joint report with Amnesty International that called on the UK Government to provide basic levels of protection and support for Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights with insecure immigration status who are currently denied access to such funds.

The report - No recourse, no safety - called on the UK Government to provide these Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights access to the specialist care and shelter that they needed, as is their duty under international human rights law.

Amnesty International’s Gender Policy Adviser Poonam Joshi said:

“We are particularly concerned that Ealing Council's decision to withdraw funding from organisations like Southall Black Sisters could be just the tip of the national iceberg. We have heard that many other specialist black and ethnic minority Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights's organisations are facing closure due to cuts in local authority funding.

“The withdrawal of support from such vital organisations would be a blow to upholding the rights of black and ethnic minority Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights who are facing domestic violence, including forced marriage, FGM and other kinds of honour-based violence.

“Organisations such as Southall Black Sisters seek to protect the rights of some of the most vulnerable Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in the UK and Amnesty International stands shoulder to shoulder with Southall Black Sisters in their legal challenge.”

Southall Black Sisters legal challenge will conclude on Friday 18 July.

Notes:
· A third of local authorities across the UK have no specialised violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights support service
· Most Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in the UK have no access to a Rape Crisis Centre and fewer than one quarter of local authorities have any sexual violence service at all
· A very small proportion of the UK is covered by existing Sexual Assault Referral Centres
· Fewer than 1 in 10 of local authorities have specialised services for black or minority-ethnic Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights which would address forced marriage, female genital mutilation and crimes in the name of honour, as well as other forms of violence

View latest press releases