Aurora New Dawn CEO deputation to Portsmouth City Council – Full Budget Meeting 08/12/15
The council budget savings report proposes to cut the specialist in-house domestic abuse service, the Early Intervention Project, from 13 members of staff to 5.
Aurora New Dawn absolutely opposes these cuts, and here are just some of the reasons why:
Portsmouth City Council has a public duty to protect the vulnerable. This duty extends not only to victims whose lives are devastated by domestic abuse every day, but also to thousands of children who deserve lives free of danger and fear.
We believe the process by which these cuts were suggested is flawed, particularly in the failure of the Council to consult with the myriad of organisations whose services intersect with your own. This partnership working ensures that Portsmouth currently offers has 24/7 support to victims in the city.
Aurora provides a DVA cars service out of hours that refers these victims to EIP. This and many projects like it have been endorsed by the Safer Portsmouth Partnership and the city council. It makes no sense not to consult with other service providers and it makes no sense to withdraw the service, which captures hundreds of victims that might not otherwise have accessed help.
This brings me to the serious danger these cuts will create for victims. Since 2011, Portsmouth, to the envy of the rest of Hampshire, have not had a domestic murder, which is a testament to the investment of the council and the voluntary sector in this city, thus far. However, these cuts will mean that the vital work of murder prevention will not occur. I have worked in this sector for over 20 years and I can tell you that without these services victims will be killed.
Of course, in a few years’ time, Councillors can change their minds, realise their mistake, reinvest the money. But you will not be able to restore a murdered mother to her children, a daughter to her parents, a friend to her community. These cuts are literally playing with people’s lives.
In closing I would like to bring your attention to the people protesting outside to these cuts. To the 42k signatures within a week opposing these cuts on a petition – recognise that the eyes of the country are on Portsmouth today.
I challenge councillors to ask their conscience how much opposition from their own constituents they need before they listen to them!