Sisters Uncut

Taking direct action for domestic violence services.

Tory Smear Campaign: ‘Playing dirty’ Tricks with Women’s Lives

Friday, February 5, 2016

Leaked email reveals Portsmouth Tory Cllr has been ‘compiling some stuff’ about Sisters Uncut and other local activists to launch a smear campaign.  

Domestic violence services save women’s lives. Without them women are forced to make the choice between staying with abusive partners, which may end in fatal violence, or becoming homeless.

The £180,000 of cuts Portsmouth City Council have proposed to local domestic violence services will lead to the loss of 8 out of 15 specialist support worker roles – so fewer women will receive the support they need and more women will be forced to remain in abusive relationships.

These cuts are not just numbers and figures: they have severe implications for the lives of women in Portsmouth. This is why we have supported our Sisters and other campaigners in Portsmouth to fight the cuts proposed by Portsmouth City Council, led by Conservative politician Donna Jones.

It has been revealed to us that Conservative Councillor Scott Harris has been conspiring to orchestrate a smear campaign against Sisters Uncut and other campaigners calling for full funding of domestic violence services. In an email recently brought to our attention he says that he thinks it might be a good idea to ‘play dirty’ and is ‘compiling some stuff’ on Sisters Uncut and a local sector worker with the intention of smearing us.

Women are being killed by their partners in Portsmouth, but Councillor Harris clearly does not care. It is disappointing that his priorities lie with political game play and manoeuvring, rather than providing support for women fleeing violence. Instead of discussing with his fellow councillors how to create fully funded, thriving domestic violence services that protect women, he concentrates his energies on planning ways to delegitimise our campaign.

Nobody likes to be told that they are wrong, but when people are telling you that your decisions are going to put women in danger of abuse and violence, you’d think that Scott Harris, Donna Jones and fellow councillors would stop and listen. Instead, they are doing their best to divert attention from the real issue: heartbreaking rates of domestic violence in Portsmouth, combined with a lack of support for women who want to flee.

We have zero concerns about Scott Harris, his smear campaign or the dirty politics of Portsmouth City council. Our only concern is that women’s lives will be put at risk from their brutal cuts. Domestic violence services save women’s lives and £180,000 worth of cuts will increase the risk that women already face. It is dangerous and revealing that Conservative councillors in Portsmouth don’t recognise the harm that their cuts will cause. Their priorities lie with political point scoring, smear campaigns and careerism, not women’s lives and safety.