Ex-women’s Prison ‘Should Now Help Survivors Of Abuse’
Sisters Uncut occupy Holloway roof to deliver their own election message
FEMINIST activists occupied an abandoned north London women’s prison at the weekend to put the needs of domestic violence survivors on the agenda.
Eight activists from direct action group Sisters Uncut occupied Holloway Prison’s visitor’s centre to demand the empty space be used as a women’s centre to “support local domestic violence survivors.”
Another 150 protested outside after the eight snuck in through an open window and activists said there were no arrests.
Activist Aisha Streetson said: “Prisons are an inhumane response to social problems faced by vulnerable women” and called on the government to “provide a better answer.”
Demonstrator and domestic violence support worker Lauren Massing said: “If the government has money for mega prisons, it has money for domestic violence support services.”
She said almost half of women in prison are domestic violence survivors, adding: “If they had the support they needed, it’s likely they wouldn’t end up in prison.”
Sisters Uncut claim to be the “voice of domestic violence survivors” in this election and have warned that the domestic violence sector is “on its last legs” as “chaotic” Tory budgets have “decimated” the number of women’s refuges in Britain.
According to charity Women’s Aid, refuges are now forced to turn away two-thirds of women seeking safety due to budget cuts and lack of resources to meet all survivors’ needs.
On a typical day 103 children and 155 women are turned away, normally due to a lack of space. Since 2010 17 per cent of specialist refuges in England have had to close their doors due to cuts.
Sisters Uncut also accused PM Theresa May of locking domestic violence survivors out of the voting system as she failed to deliver on her promise to make it easier for survivors to vote by providing anonymous voter registration.
Many survivors are afraid to register to vote because they fear their abuser could find out their address and use it to track them down.