Austerity cuts to close Spain women's shelters: officials
Almost 100 battered womens' centres in Spain will have to close due to crisis spending cuts, officials said on Thursday.
The governmental Woman's Institute said in a statement that authorities in the central Castilla-la-Mancha region in the new year will have to close 85 assistance centres and 13 shelters that have room to house 96 victims of domestic violence.
"We are faced with a tough and unjust situation which amounts to an attack on women's rights," the institute's director Teresa Blat said in a statement, branding the move "a serious step backward".
A spokeswoman for the institute, which is under the authority of the health ministry, told AFP the regional government had written to the centres telling them their subsidies will not be renewed from January.
"This measure is going to affect 96 places for victims of domestic violence and about 400 professionals who work in these centres with these women", Blat said.
She said the region had proposed an unspecified "new legal measure" to replace the services provided by the centres, private institutions which benefit from public subsidies. Regional officials were not available to comment.
Spain's regions are under pressure to cut spending as part of national efforts to lower the country's public deficit. Cuts are hitting healthcare and education in some regions.
Castilla-la-Mancha has announced plans to save 2.15 billion euros ($2.8 billion).
The new conservative national government due to take office next week has promised further cuts.
© 2011 AFP