Inspired by ‘Unravelling Equality’ and the TUC Toolkit for demonstrating the impact of the cuts on women’s lives, Liz James and Jackie Patiniotis from the School of Humanities and Social Science, Liverpool John Moores University, conducted a piece of research on the impact of the cuts on vulnerable groups of women in Liverpool, namely women victims/survivors of gender-based violence, women who use mental health services and women asylum seekers and refugees.
The research found that cuts to public sector funding are putting an intolerable strain on domestic abuse and sexual violence services and staff. Local government money is not covering essential core costs and some organizations are now spending far more time on applying to alternative funding sources such as charitable trusts to make up both the shortfall and the cost of inflation.
Local authority mental health services are being forced to restrict their availability to those with ‘substantial’ and ‘critical’ needs. Charges have also been introduced, leading women on low incomes to drop out of services. Together with a drive to ‘modernise’ services, these changes have led to a climate of insecurity for service users and workers alike.
Spending cuts and other austerity measures are having a devastating impact on women’s equality, safety and well-being and that it is essential that organisations that work to protect and empower women are adequately funded. In order for this to happen, realistic baseline statistics need to be collected, cumulative impacts of potential cuts considered and the social return on investment in women’s services factored in to budgetary calculations.
A full copy of the report can be viewed here: Women_at_the_Cutting_Edge_2013