Women’s Aid cash axed by council because charity doesn’t work with abusers
WOMEN’S Aid threatened legal action after a council became the first in Scotland to withdraw funding support – because the charity does not work with abusers.
North Lanarkshire Council was accused of taking a “callous step” by cancelling its £350,000 annual payment to three Women’s Aid groups in return for striking a new £1 million contract with Sacro, the offender rehabilitation organisation.
The tenders for a contract were rejected as the council chose to “a specialist domestic abuse service that ensured compliance with statutory and legal obligations”. The council is the first local authority in Scotland to withdraw financial support for Women’s Aid services across its area.
Monklands Women’s Aid, Motherwell District Women’s Aid and North Lanarkshire Women’s
Aid all tendered for the new contract but were unsuccessful “as they do not accept men into their refuges and do not work with perpetrators of violence”.
Dr Marsha Scott, chief executive of Scottish Women’s Aid, said she was “appalled” and that legal action could be taken.
A North Lanarkshire Council spokesman said the tender “was issued in accordance with procurement regulations”. He added: “It was recognised that the wider policy and practice environment within which specialist services operated had changed significantly over the last five years and an independent review was carried out. The review identified gaps in service provision and made recommendations.
“This led to a recommendation to carry out a tendering exercise to procure a specialist domestic abuse service that ensured compliance with statutory and legal obligations. Sacro will provide a domestic abuse service which will predominately focus on women and children but will not preclude other victims of domestic abuse.” However, he said refuge provision was not included in the tender won by Sacro and the council would “continue to work with local women’s aid groups .”