Saturday, 2 April 2011

An open letter to Cameron, Clegg, May and Featherstone


Actions, not words.
So formed part of Theresa May's speech to the Women's Aid conference after being appointed Home Secretary and Equalities minister, little less than a year ago. 

Actions, not words.

And, in some ways, she was right. Actions have been made, and very few words about them have been spoken. Actions that will result in the deaths, and the physical and mental harm of women all over the country, who are facing the reality of having their life-saving and life-creating services cut, thanks to this coalition government's financial and economic decisions.

It was revealed by Women's Aid this March that, across the country, 60% of refuge services will have no council funding in the new financial year, and neither will 72% of floating support services, which provide support within people's homes. 

Actions, not words. 

These cuts will also lead to 40% job losses in the refuge sector. 

Actions, not words. 

These cuts mean that next year, an extra 70,000 women and children will be left without the support they need to escape lives of violence. The cuts will reduce refuge projects from 400 across the UK, to 160. Every day, 200 women are already unable to access a refuge place. These cuts mean that many more women will literally have no-where to go to start new lives away from a world of physical, emotional and sexual violence. Their children will have no-where to go. Men in violent relationships will also lose the support that many of these services offer.

Actions, not words.

Statistics tell us that two women a week will die as a result of domestic violence, and 2,000 women a week are raped. The number of women annually killed by their partner has risen in the past few years, from 78 in 2008 to 97 in 2010. The basic facts are that as a result of these service cuts, more women will be beaten, physically and emotionally. More women will be raped. More women will die. 

Women like Tania Moore, whose story was told on BBC Panorama. When Tania Moore left her abusive partner, he continued to stalk her and send her threatening messages, before murdering her in 2004. Her mother has since campaigned to raise awareness of the horrors of domestic violence and stalking.

Or women like Hannah Fisher, whose mother is currently raising money for Refuge to ensure that services which could have saved her daughter exist for future women. Hannah was killed by her former partner when she was 21.

The moment when a woman decides to leave her violent partner is the moment she is most in danger. Without support services in place to ensure a safe space for her to escape to, women are at huge risk of stalking, violence and death. Refuge places save lives, like the life of an anonymous woman who got in touch with me to say how her and her baby fled a violent relationship to find a place in a refuge, and were supported in finding secure accommodation. She says the refuge saved her life.

Actions, not words.

It was also revealed last week that the post created by the government to fight against female genital mutilation in the UK has been cut. This comes weeks after the government pledged to fight this crime, that often leaves women with health problems, pain during intercourse and periods, and increased complications during childbirth. It can cause severe pain and shock, psychological damage, urine retention, immediate fatal haemorrhaging and complications in pregnancy and childbirth. It is an act designed to control women. It is a crime committed against children. This cut suggests that the government has chosen to risk the physical and emotional health of young girls in order to save money. One charity worker says that of all the young women she works in from the FGM-practising community, nearly all have been cut. It is estimated that 24,000 girls in the UK are at risk of being cut. No-one has ever been prosecuted for practising FGM since it was made illegal in the UK in 1985.

Actions, not words. 

I have briefly laid out the facts of the effects of the cuts to services that provide support to women and men escaping violent relationships. I have told the stories of a few women who have been affected. Now, I ask you to take action. 

You can ensure that services which save women's lives are safe themselves. You can pledge to invest money and secure funding to protect services that save lives.

Supporting the domestic violence sector makes financial sense. Domestic violence costs London alone £2.5 million a day. The average annual income of a Rape Crisis centre is £81,598 – only marginally more the cost to the state of one rape. And it makes moral and social sense. I do not want to live in a society that sacrifices the lives of vulnerable women to make savings. Risking the lives of women to save money is not an option. 

You can take action. After you have read this letter, please visit the websites of our leading domestic violence support service charities and donate. If the actions of this government have determined to cut funding from the this vital sector, then take action yourselves, and donate now.

And please, think of the sons and daughters who had no card to send to their mothers on the 3rd April. The siblings who will never reminisce with their sister. The mothers and fathers who will never see their daughters grow older. The best friend who loses the woman she loves. The women who will not live the lives they were supposed to live. And think of the women who have survived, thanks to the services that are dedicated to ending what  the UN Secretary-General has called the greatest human rights violation of our time. Who are dedicated to ending violence against women and girls, with actions, not words. 

Yours sincerely,

Sian Norris

342 women and men have signed this letter in support. There names are:

Anna Brown Bristol Feminist Network
Helen Gregory, The F Word
Rob Buckley
Marina Strinkovsky
Kate Grant Bristol Feminist Network
Rachel Simmons
Emma Bedford
Dr Sue Tate Bristol Fawcett and Bristol Feminist Network, Senior lecturer at UWE
Constance Fleuriot
Jane Mornemont, Bristol Fawcett
Dr Nikki Hayfield
Harriet Williams, Bristol Feminist Network
Hannah Mudge
Louise Almond-Norris
Kate Bewick
Joanna Papageorgiou
Natalie Dzerins
Jean-Paul Storrow
Maddie Shapland
Jen Hall
Paul Wood
Guy Taylor
Jonathan Headington
Tiffany Daniels
Melissa Harry
Jessica Haigh, Leeds Feminist Network
Jan Martin, Bristol Feminist Network
James Tanner
Matt Moran
Katherine Williams
Tomas Rawlings
Sandra Dillon
Lee-Tze Leong
Cath Elliott, blogger and journalist
Selina Postgate
Sophie Warnes
Alison Wheeler
Alexx Eastwood-Williams
Vicky Ayech
Aatish Ramchurn
Claire Butler
Bob Irving
Dahlian Kirby
Anna Robertson
Elaine Hutton, Bristol Fawcett
Amirah Garba
Cat Jone
sChitra Nagarajan, London Feminist Network
Esther Owen, Bristol Fawcet
Finn McKay, founder of London Feminist Network
James Sherlock
Linda Durrant
Pam Smith
Dr Charlotte Paterson, Bristol Fawcett
Laura Norton
Mark Clapham
Ben Singer
Mary Ni Cheallaigh
John O'Dwyer
Fatma Kayhan
Sue Newte
Davina Williams, Bristol Fawcett
Jackie Barron
Karen Connelly
Carrie Supple
Carolyn Forsyth
Jan Goodyear
Orna Ross
Charmaine Elliott
Amani Zarroug
Dr Pamela Trevithick, Bristol Fawcett
Kayleigh Reed
Sian Cox
Kirsty Gallery
Eve Zienau
Mark Randall
Jac Higgs and the Northants Green Party
Tanya Jones
Juliet Blake
Thomas Pickard
Gill Harry
Deborah Metters
Simon Hewitt
Mel Brown
Cathryn Fraser
Simon Hayward
Selina Nwulu
Vicky Nigussie
Kate Smurthwaite, comedian and vice chair of abortion rights
Deborah de Lloyd
Amber Burrows
Robert Frazier
Jennifer Drew
Martin Wilson
Adrienne Madden
Margaret Vesey
Verity Halliday
Miles Curtis Watson
Jessica Finn
James Baker
Katie Sims
Will Mead
Ben Whale
Isaac Marsden-Loftus
Daniel Parkes
Lukasz Tyszczuk
Bidisha, writer and broadcaster
Natalie Vivian
Sophia McCrea
Polly Toney
Pete Toney
Nadia Yafai
Andy Platt
Alessandra Berti, Bristol University Feminist Society
Stephanie Theobald
Millie Kidson
Rosa Morris
Wendy Constantinoff
Damian Harte
Diane Law
Cerys Hammer
Lindsay Dickinson
Amy Wright
Lauren Evans
Ben Martin
Martin Paul Eve
Giordana Bunting
Jenny Williamson
Liz Britton
Steve Dickinson
Michael Bimmler
Beatrix Campbell, writer and journalist
AVA Project
Laura Woodhouse, The F Word and Sheffield  Feminist Network
Dr. Helen Mott, Bristol Fawcett
Ruth Schamrof
Maria Ng
Karen Barlow
Sharon Gewirtz
Stephanie Poyntz, Bristol Fawcett
Emily Brewer
Jeremy Green
Ruth Owens
Katharine Jenkins
Charlotte Gage
Sally Clifford
Sarah Fogg
Toni Haastrup
Lisa Saunders
Andrew Brown
Nina Blakesley
Jodie Gardiner
Paula Manners Rape crisis
Marilyn Shipley
Olivia Bailey
Claire Chetwynd
Emma Dowden
Kirsty Doole
Frances Walker
Sam Ahmed
Diane Shipley
Mary Tracy
Hari Byles
Nicola Kerry
Imogen Facey
Jacqueline Christodoulou
Catherine Elms
Pam MacLeod
Deborah Kelley
Minna Salonen
Kate Williams
Lynsey Rose
Josh Hadley
Kev Croaker
Claire Barker
Katherine Wootton
Harri C Weeks
Carrie Stewart
Eleanor Saunders
Sue Westwood
Jane Evans
Sue Jeffries
Lindsay J Haynes
Hannah Seidel
Kit Withnail Bristol University Feminist Society
Sophie Bennett President, Bristol University Feminist Society
Rob Griggs
Rukshana Afia
Sian de Freyssinet, London Feminist Network
Esther Polden  Bristol Fawcett
Sally Outen
Linda Haskins
Sophie Parker Manuel
Jessica Laughton
Amy O'Leary
Rhiannon Holder MBE
Cat Payne
Georgie Power
Katy Ladbrook, Bristol Feminist Network
Natalie Bennett Bristol Feminist Network
Anna Lowenstein
Alice Field
Michelle Wright
Susan Field
Armin Elsaesser, Bristol Feminist Network
Ruth Martin
Lara Gunnarsson
Jennifer Chadburn
Zara Grout
Sinead Walsh
Polly Smith
Clare Hollowell
Caitlin Gwyn
Eleanor T Higgs
Sarah Evans
Anna Travers
Claire Murray
Amy Wilkes
Bev Khan
Juliet Sprake
Lily-Rose Beardshaw
Sarah Kiddle
Amelia Bayes
Eleanor Johnson
Marion Payne
Charlie Dacke, Solent Feminist Network
101 members of Solent Feminist Network 
Francine Hoenderkamp, Turn your back on page 3
Hannah Pickford
Barnaby Lynch
Kate Sang
Susan Pares South London Fawcett Society
David Hopkinson
Dave Taylor
Melanie Jeffs




Forty Shades Of Grey said...

Sign me up - Natalie Dzerins. I'll put this on my Twitter and Facebook too.

Melissa said...

Please add my name - Melissa Harry

drunkenwerewolf said...

Hey, I'll sign it - Tiffany Daniels xx

Marina S said...

Great letter, Sian. Please add my name.

Maddie said...

sign me up too.. its maddie of the shapland variety.. :)

No Sleep 'Til Brooklands said...

You can include me on this; Jonathan Headington.

jenniesue said...

Please add my signature too - Jen Hall (@JennieSue)

guytaylo said...

Please add my name - Guy Taylor

guytaylo said...

Add me too - Guy Taylor

jan martin said...

no hesitation in supporting this

Jan Martin

jan martin said...

I have no hesitation in supporting this

Jan Martin

Dilettante said...

Please add my name - James Tanner

Sciamachy said...

Please add me too - Matt Moran

BookElf said...

Jess Haigh

tomas said...

Tomas Rawlings

Katherine said...

Please add my name-Katherine Williams

AlisonW said...

As a former victim of relationship violence I completely support this message. Leaving is difficult, nearly impossible, and refuges are a necessary service for our safety and protection. I would like to associate myself with this letter.

Alison Wheeler

sophlw said...

Add me please - Sophie Warnes

Fat Hamster said...

Please add me - Selina Postgate

CathElliott said...

And you can add my name too - Cath Elliott

Haruki said...

Sign my name too please - Lee-Tze Leong

Nikki said...

Hi Sian, please do add my name - Nikki Hayfield - thanks so much x

Anna said...

Please add my name - Anna Robertson

Nikki said...

Hi Sian, please do add my name - Nikki Hayfield - thanks so much x

sian and crooked rib said...

thank you so much, all of you, for signing and responding. We already have 40 names in a couple of hours! We'll have loads by the end of the week.

Thank you thank you for standing in solidarity and sisterhood. You are all wonderful.

Sian x

djekirby said...

add my name Dahlian Kirby

Cirencester said...

Count me in:

Bob Irving, GL7 2HT

trickygirl said...

Happy to sign - Claire Butler

Aatish said...

Signed by Aatish Ramchurn

va said...

My name is Vicky Ayech. Please add it too.

Alexx said...

Please add my name - Alexx Eastwood-Williams

Cat said...

Please sign me up - Cat Jones

ariesami said...

Consider this my signature, Amirah Garba

sian and crooked rib said...

I'm off to Berkshire soon to see JP's family so might not be able to post comments straight away or respond quickly as internet signal for my trusty HTC is a bit dodgy in their village.

But please keep adding your names and i will post as quickly as i can.

Thanks again,
in sisterhood,

Linda said...

and you can add my name too - Linda Durrant

Jokeless Charm said...

The Government will cut every important service and leave business and the banks unregulated.
Will happily sign.
James Sherlock

Pam said...

Please add my name and I will tweet it.

Pam Smith @revpamsmith

Samsoir said...

Please sign my name

Steve said...

Please add me too - Steve Dickinson. (@stevedickinson0)

Liz said...

signing in support of defending the weak and vulnerable against the unfeeling and unspeakable
Liz Britton

Giordy said...

Please add my name: Giordana Bunting

Jenny said...

Please add my name - Jenny Williamson.

I'm also in Lynne Featherstone's constituency and will send a separate personal letter to her directly.

Giordy said...

Please add my name: Giordana Bunting

Charity mum said...

Add my name- Anna Day.

MartinEve said...

Please add my name: Martin Paul Eve

Cheesies said...

Sign me up, Ben Martin

Laur said...

Lauren Evans - I have tweeted this

Amy said...

Sign me up please: Amy Wright.

featherhouse said...

thank you for writing this for us to sign


Dr Constance Fleuriot FRSA

(feel free to edit my name as suits you)

Lindsay said...

Please add me too. Lindsay Dickinson

molotovchicken said...

Another name.
Cerys Harmer

Diane said...

Add me, great Letter. Diane Law

Damian said...

Damian Harte

WendyCarole said...

Please add me
Wendy Constantinoff

Rosa said...

I tried signing this earlier but don't think it worked. So tryi g again. Rosa Morris

millieepona said...

Add me please - Millie Kidson x

smokyjit said...

im in ... please add my name.

uobbasketball said...

Please add my name: Alessandra Berti and my mother's Stephanie Theobald,
thank you for writing this Sian. A case of action with words :) x

allnottinghambasearebelongtous said...

...and me

Andy Platt

smokyjit said...

im in sian ... please add me
nadia yafai.

ElementalChild said...

Sign me and my husband up - Polly and Pete Toney

Sophia said...

Please add my name: Sophia McCrea

Bidisha said...

Add my name - BIDISHA

Bidisha said...

sign my name - BIDISHA

Miles said...

Miles Curtis Watson
Jessica Finn
James Baker
Katie Sims
Will Mead
Ben Whale
Isaac Marsden-Loftus
Daniel Parkes
Lukasz Tyszczuk
Natalie Vivian

All of our authors want to ensure that this gets as much support as possible

Verity said...

Such a powerful letter, please add my name, Verity Halliday.

Adrienne said...

Please sign my name; Adrienne Madden, Northern Ireland

Have reposted on Facebook & will try to spread the word!

Ravensthorpe said...

In 30 odd years of opposing these people this may be the foulest policy they have pursued. Please add my name to the petition. Martin Wilson - York


Sian please add my name - Jennifer Drew and I'll forward this link on to a number of feminist networks and thereby ensure the signatories increase dramatically.

Robert said...

Sign me too - Robert Frazier

earwicga said...

Please add my name.

Deb said...

I'll sign, there's no need for all of these cuts to critical services.
Deborah de Lloyd

Cruella said...

Yes well done please add me. Kate Smurthwaite comedienne and vice-chair of Abortion Rights UK (another area where cuts will hit women).

Vicky N. said...

Great initiative, hope it goes through & please add my name- Vicky Nigussie

selinagn said...

Me too- Selina Nwulu

SimonH said...

Simon Hayward

Add my name.

Hannah Mudge said...

Of course!

Hannah Mudge

Nice work. said...

Cathryn Fraser. Add me please

pressnotsorry said...

Please add my name - Mel Brown (the original, not the Spice Girl!).

Fantastic letter. x

Simon said...

Please add me - Simon Hewitt

rosamundi said...

Deborah Metters

Gill said...

Please add my name also.
Gill Harry

Tom said...

Please include my signature - Thomas Pickard

Kim said...

Will support and spread this. Kim Blake

Slide said...

Juliet B.

Tanya Jones said...

Please add my name - Tanya Jones.

Jac said...

Please add me - Jac Higgs, and the Northants Green Party too :)

Mark Randall said...

Mark Randall

eva said...

Eva Zienau

crimsoncrip said...

This has to be stopped, help is not always easy to obtain now, cuts mean that some will not be supported, and will end up seriously hurt or worse

Kirsty said...

I'll sign: Kirsty Gallery.

maggi said...

Margaret Vesey agrees.

Mbimmler said...

please add -- Michael Bimmler

Rose said...

Sign me up please. Rose x

Robert Griggs said...

Add my name - rob griggs

Bristol said...

please add my name, Sophie Bennett

kit said...

Please add me - Kit Withnail
thanks :) x

sian and crooked rib said...

So, we now have 138 signatures and it is only Monday morning!
Thank you to all of you who have commented here, tweeted, facebooked and emailed me. Together we are standing up to say that the cuts to these vital services are unacceptable.

When I send the letters to the MPs I will also send them to the letter pages to the newspapers. I'll publish it in the Fresh Outlook this week and have pitched to CIF.

Any other places people can think it should go, let me know.


hannah said...

Please sign me up - Hannah Seidel

reconnaissance said...

Please add my name too - Lindsay J. Haynes

WeePeeCee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
hannah said...

Please add our names - Sue Westwood,Jane Evans, Sue Jeffries

eleanargh said...

Add me please - Eleanor Saunders

teabelly said...

Add my name: Carrie Stewart

Harri said...

Please add me - Harri C. Weeks

Kate said...

I would like to sign. Katherine Wootton.

FF Reader said...

Plese add mine-Claire Barker

westbourne said...

Please add my name - Kev Coaker. Thank you.

Josher said...

Josh Hadley, please.

lightupvirginmary said...

Lynsey Rose

tootingwreck said...

Please add me.

Kate Williams

Minna Colada said...

Please add my name to the letter - Minna Salonen, London

Minna Colada said...

Please add my name, Minna Salonen (London)

The Goldfish said...

Thank you for this, please include my name.

Deborah Kelly.

Pamela said...

Pls add me... Pam MacLeod xx

Cath said...

Please add us - Catherine Elms and Richard Hankinson xxx

Jacqueline Christodoulou said...

Please add my name to the letter: Jacqueline Christodoulou

imogenfacey said...

please include me also- Imogen Facey

JM said...

Add my name

nicola said...

please add my name - Nicola Kerry

Harriet said...

could you add my name too please, Hari Byles

Mary Tracy said...

What a fantastic idea. Please add my name: Mary Tracy.

diane said...

Services for victims of domestic abuse save the lives of women and children, and can turn around abusers' lives, too. These cuts are indefensible.
- Diane Shipley

CynicalZam said...

Hi Sian, please add my name too - Sam Ahmed.

Martin said...

please put my name down : Frances Walker.

Kirsty said...

Please add my name too: Kirsty Doole

Nanna D said...

Please add my name - Emma Dowden

Claire said...

Please sign me up - Claire Chetwynd

Olivia Bailey said...

Sign me up - Olivia Bailey

Marilyn said...

Please add me. Marilyn Shipley.

SMLC said...

Sign me up - Paula Manners (rape crisis centre volunteers

Jodie said...

Please add my name - Jodie Gardiner

N said...

Hi please add my name - Nina Blakesley

The Bollinger Bolshevik said...

Sign me up Lisa Saunders (bolli_bolshevik on twitter)
and Andrew Brown

Toni said...

Add me - Toni Haastrup

Sarah Fogg said...

Please add my name - Sarah Fogg. I'll spread this around everywhere I can too.

sowandsew said...

Please add my name. A wonderful letter.

Sally Clifford

Charlotte, WRC Policy Officer said...

Add my name too please - Charlotte Gage

Katharine said...

please add my name - Katharine Jenkins

Ruth said...

Co-signed, and signal boosted on FaceAche.

Ruth Owens, Brighton

Jeremy Green said...

Me. Jeremy Green.

Rukshana said...

That is one hell of a letter ! Add my name - Rukshana Afia

Marion said...

Sign me up - Marion Payne.

El said...

I'd love to add my name to this - Eleanor Johnson.

50 Foot Queenie said...

Please add Amelia Bayes. Thanks.

Growlergirl said...

And me! Sarah Kiddle.

l-bea said...

Add my name - Lily-Rose Beardshaw

Juliet said...

Please add my name. Juliet Sprake. Great points, very well made. Thank you.

Bev said...

Please add my name to the letter - Bev Khan

Misfit Fits In said...

please add my name! Amy Wilkes. London.

Claire said...

Add me too! Claire Murray

Feminartist said...

Please sign me up and thank you for this...Anna Travers also adding to Facebook .

Sarah said...

Please add me to this: Sarah Evans

Ellie said...

Eleanor T Higgs

Caitlin Beth said...

Please add my name to this wonderful letter - Caitlin Gwynn
Best of luck x

Clare said...

Clare Hollowell

Clare said...

Clare Hollowell

alabandical said...

Please add my name: Polly Smith

Ullat said...

Please add me: Sinead Walsh

zara said...

Add me please,

Zara Grout

Jen said...

Please add my name

Jennifer Chadburn

Lara said...

Add me please - Lara Gunnarsson

ruth said...

Please add my name - Ruth Martin

Parasite said...

well done Sian! sign me up - Armin Elsaesser

Legible Susan said...

Trying again! The signing-in-to-Google-after-submitting didn't work for me. I wish you had more options - my OpenId isn't one I want to use with my offline name.

Please add me to the signatories: Susan Francis

Michelle said...

Nice one, Sian. Please add my name: Michelle Wright. x

nyarbaggytep said...

please add my name, alice field

annalowenstein said...

Anna Lowenstein. Great work!

pipsicle said...

Please sign me up too. Kate Sang

Catherine said...

Please sign me on this too. Thanks Cat Payne

Barnaby said...

Barnaby Lynch

cubelog said...

Please add my name - David Hopkinson.

Meager Rider said...

Please add my name > Melanie Jeffs

meulop said...

If it's not too late, please add me - Dave Taylor

Manu said...

Jenni Craggs - please add me too!