Struggle to save Qld women's services

Issue 

BRISBANE — Two weeks ago women's rape and incest crisis centres had their funding cut by half. Desi Archilloes, finance coordinator for the Brisbane Rape and Incest Centre (BRIC) told Green Left Weekly that centres from Cairns to the Gold Coast will be affected. The cuts will end the centres' 24-hour services, child-care and support programs for rural women. BRIC has demanded that the Women's Health Policy Unit (WHPU), the government department responsible, reallocate the money. While WHPU has agreed in principle, the decision has yet to be formally confirmed. The unit also claims that the funds would be better spent training public servants in sexual assault counselling. BRIC does not agree. For years it has been arguing that counselling must come from women who work at the grassroots. "If 50 ritual abuse survivors come in in a month, obviously training needs to happen", Archilloes said. Waiting for these types of programs to be set up by the government will take too long. If the funds are not forthcoming BRIC will be organising demonstrations in front of government offices. Petitions have already been circulated and BRIC urges people to write to their local MP and the Women's Policy Unit. For more information call 846 1206.

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