NEWS

Tory Cuts To Women's Refuges Leads Activists To Occupy Holloway Prison

Campaigners want to halt plans for luxury flats.

01/06/2017 18:17

Activists are occupying the abandoned Holloway Prison to stop it being turned into luxury flats and in protest at Tory cuts to domestic violence services.

Sisters Uncut say the ‘reclamation’ of the former women’s jail is to show the government it should make the space a refuge for survivors.

“The site has been empty now for a year and totally unused. And there are plans to redevelop the space into luxury flats,” a protestor, who didn’t want to disclose her name, told HuffPost UK.

Despite Theresa May’s pledge this week to introduce a Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill, the group say the Prime Minister isn’t doing enough.

“At the moment two women a week die at the hands of a partner or ex-partner in the UK, the Tory government have been cutting domestic violence services since 2010. 

“Thirty-four specialist refuges have closed since the Tory coalition government came in,” a protestor told HuffPost UK.

Sisters Uncut, who previously occupied a council building in Hackney, are holding a week long festival of workshops open to all women and non-binary people as part of the occupation.

Women’s Aid claim in England a third of all referrals to refuges are turned away, normally due to a lack of available space.

Holloway was previously the biggest women’s prison in Europe. It was closed after being branded inadequate by inspectors.

The jail has a rich history of inmates and in the early 20th Century suffragettes were imprisoned there.

According to the BBC, many of them went on hunger strike and were subjected to force-feeding in prison.

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