Labour and Co-operative MP for Redcar, Anna Turley, has today slammed the government’s treatment of EVA Women’s Aid who have had their grant withdrawn.
She was speaking in a debate she secured in Westminster Hall on Tuesday 30th April.
EVA have been supporting survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse in Redcar and Cleveland since 1987. Since 2014, they have received funding from the Rape Support Fund to provide sexual violence support services and the specialist counselling to children and young people of all genders, and to adult females. This includes support services for victims of child sexual abuse.
However, EVA were informed in March that their bid to the fund for 2019-22 has been unsuccessful, meaning that from June these important services will cease in Redcar & Cleveland.
This is set against a backdrop of cuts across the country to domestic violence services. As a consequence of cuts in central government funding, more than 75% of England’s local authorities have slashed their spending on domestic violence refuges – by nearly a quarter (24%) – between 2010 and 2017.
Anna wrote to the Secretary of State for Justice but received a disappointing response. She secured a Westminster Hall debate today to force Justice ministers to respond to her case in person.
Speaking in Westminster Hall, Anna said:
“It goes without saying that the support EVA provide is a lifeline to their clients, with whom they have worked hard and carefully to develop sensitive relationships and build up trust. It is because of this record that EVA are a very well respected organisation in the local community, led by Richinda and her fantastic team of staff.
“Five of EVA’s twenty three staff could now be affected by this move. These are specially trained rape counsellors providing specialist support who could now be lost because of a short-sighted funding decision.
“Ministers cannot simply pass the blame to local commissioners. This is funding that has been directly provided to EVA from central government and it is central government that has taken the decision to withdraw it with very little notice.”
In his reply, Justice Minister Edward Argar MP confirmed the result of the funding competition would not be reviewed.
Commenting afterwards, Anna said:
“The Minister’s response was disappointing and failed to acknowledge the funding pressures due to central government cuts. This will be more bad news for EVA who are desperately trying to find the funding needed to keep services going after June. It just shows austerity is far from over and yet again it’s the most vulnerable who are left to suffer.”
Video of the debate can be viewed here: https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/99e033a2-e432-4613-901c-50e184d75219?in=11:00:07&out=11:24:05#player-tabs