Despite an increasing number of women and children relying on safe houses, the Government continues to justify cuts to domestic violence programmes, says Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Carol Beaumont and Victims’ Rights spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.
“Domestic violence remains a serious concern in this country and the Government is stopping progress in its tracks,” Carol Beaumont said.
“Figures recently released by the National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuges make plain the harsh reality faced by many women and children.
“Every night in New Zealand, 206 women and children need to spend a night in a Women’s Refuge safe house. Last year alone 75,000 bed nights were used by women and children who felt too unsafe to stay in their own homes.
“Women’s Refuge has housed 30 more women per night, representing an 8% increase since 2009, but cuts are full steam ahead.
“The collective have been told that they are likely to lose $700,000 from their baseline funds this May. These funds are associated with the recently announced cuts to family violence services.
“This is an organisation which receives 152 crisis line calls every day from women in desperate need. I urge the Minister to reassess these cuts,” Carol Beaumont said.
“Cuts to domestic violence programmes are going to have a direct and negative effect on community organisations’ ability to influence change and prevention at the coal face of family violence,” Carmel Sepuloni said.
“What we need is leadership from government which supports the safeguarding of women and children from violent situations.
“Unfortunately, victims of violence look set to be the latest casualty of ill-conceived slash and burn cost cutting tactics,” Carmel Sepuloni said.