Women's rights speaker blasts council over charity funding cut

Women's rights speaker blasts council over charity funding cut

By Dave Doyle | 27/10/2015 0 comments

Women's rights speaker blasts council over charity funding cut

A TRANSATLANTIC speaker on women’s rights has blasted Rotherham authorities for removing an abuse charity’s funding.

Khatija Barday-Wood, founder of international women’s charity EIMAN, made a speech at the annual general meeting of Rotherham-based Apna Haq.

She criticised Rotherham Borough Council for ending the local group’s contract to provide domestic violence support in the town.

The council intends to support abused women itself, cutting off £145,000 of Apna Haq’s funding.

But some fear that the council-appointed counsellors will not reach some of the most vulnerable women in Rotherham — those of ethnic minorities.

Khatija regularly speaks at the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women, held in New York.

“These are very specialist services being put at risk,” she said. “The council has done this for cost-effectiveness, but one size doesn’t fit all.

“Austerity makes domestic violence services even more important. When society suffers a downturn, men tend to take it out on women.”

Apna Haq’s directors reported yesterday that nearly one third of the charity’s users, nearly all of whom are non-white British, refer themselves.

“Domestic violence is not a generic problem,” said Khatija. “If it were, these people would not be coming to Apna Haq.

“The council should think very hard about what they are doing and reconsider this cut.”

When news of the contract being scrapped emerged in August, the council said it was confident that Rotherham Rise, formerly Rotherham Women’s Refuge, would be able to reach out to vulnerable women across the community.

“We have chosen the provider that is best placed to provide specialist housing related support to black and minority ethnic women,” said a spokeswoman, adding: “We are currently exploring a potential future pilot project, which may involve Apna Haq’s services.”

See Friday’s Advertiser for more on Apna Haq's uncertain future.

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