The non-profit organization Women Against Violence Europe (WAVE) sent an address to the Estonian authorities to draw attention to the problem of funding women's shelters in Estonia and to call on guaranteeing a necessary budget for their work to be able to continue.
"WAVE is observing with great concern the situation in Estonia where the sums meant for women's shelters in the 2017 budget have been cut by 100,000 euros compared with the present year," head of the organization, Maria Rosslhumer, writes in the letter addressed to the Estonian president, parliament's board and government members.
"It has led to a situation where women's shelters in eight counties with smaller populations have been forced to close their doors and shelters in two counties cannot provide adequate service due to insufficient funding," she adds.
"Every woman who has suffered due to violence deserves good professional support, irrespective of where she lives. WAVE is calling on you to give your best to guarantee that the money that is missing in the state budget reaches women's shelters, that their sustainable operations are guaranteed, and that the well-developed and functioning network of women's shelters and information line are kept from collapsing. Women's health and lives are at stake. We need each one of them," Rosslhumer stressed.
The Estonian Women's Shelters Union (ENVL) announced on Wednesday that eight women's shelters are to close their doors in Estonia at the beginning of 2017 since after the first tender to find shelter service providers failed in the regions, the National Social Insurance Board did not increase the monetary limits set for counties in the new tender.
According to ENVL the women's shelters of Jarva, Jogeva, Laane, Hiiu and Rapla, Valga, Viljandi, West-Viru, and Voru counties on Wednesday decided not to make offers in the framework of the second tender organized by the National Social Insurance Board for providing shelter services. In these counties shelters that support women and children suffering from domestic violence will close their doors.
WAVE is a network of European women's non-governmental organizations working in the field of combating violence against women and children.