It is not a shelter or a user assistance center. Ana María Pérez del Campo, founder of the Center for Care, Recovery and Reintegration of Battered Women (CARRMM) in Madrid, insists on this non-stop. Standing since 1991, it is the oldest place of its kind in Spain, where the victims and their sons and daughters spend an average of between 10 and 18 months not only to get away from the abusers, but, above all, to leave recovered from the wounds left by the violence. But now the center is in "an extreme situation", on the verge of closing due to lack of income and because the public funds it has had until now have collapsed.
The National Federation of Associations of Separated and Divorced Women, which is the one who manages the center, estimates the budget needed to sustain it for a year at just over 800,000 euros, but at the moment it only has 326,758 euros. The sum comes from subsidies charged to 0.7% of personal income tax for social interest programs, but the amount received from the central State is far from what it received in other years. The Ministry of Social Rights and the 2030 Agenda, which is in charge of distributing it, assures that it cannot do anything else because the competence to finance direct care falls on the communities in compliance of a ruling of the Constitutional Court.
The 260,641 euros awarded by the ministry, half of what was received in 2021, have reached the center in May. "And also late," Pérez del Campo denounces, which has meant that until this past month "the workers and suppliers have been without pay." With more than 3,500 square meters spread over 25 rooms, a library, a nursery, a gym or a garden, the house today welcomes 42 people, including women and their children, with whom a multidisciplinary team of psychologists, social workers, educators and lawyers works. . But "we have places for more", up to 60, which are empty due to lack of income, he says.
The center has been maintained since its foundation with public funds, the vast majority of Social Rights, but has also received a subsidy from the Community of Madrid also with a 0.7% charge. The figures are as follows: from the Ministry this year it has received 260,641 euros, while last year it was 549,000 and more than 600,000 in 2019 and 2020. The distribution of the community has been fluctuating: from 66,117 this year to 73,143 this year. 2021, the 40,962 of 2020 and the 53,557 of 2019. This in regards to what the Personal Income Tax Administration distributes and apart from other specific subsidies that it has also received in some exercises from both the Ministry and the community.
You have to go back to 2017 to understand what is happening. Then the Constitutional Court decided, after an appeal filed by the Generalitat de Catalunya, that the central State does not have the power to finance, through 0.7% of personal income tax, any program that had direct social assistance and care as its objective, given that these They are community competencies. "Neither, in general, the maintenance expenses [por ejemplo, de un centro, como en este caso]according to their doctrine," says a spokesman for Social Rights. A double-section model was then devised: the communities would manage 80% of the funds with the aim of attending to this type of project and the State would distribute 20%.
And what has changed this year? According to the spokesperson, in practice this ruling was not being complied with one hundred percent, so the department led by Ione Belarra "signed an agreement with the communities and the Third Sector Platform in 2021 to comply with it" and guarantee that the model survives for at least five years. The same sources allege that "this necessary agreement" has been responsible for lengthening the terms and that it specifies which projects the State can finance with its 20%: those that have to do with research, internationalization, promotion of good treatment or modernization of the Third Sector, among others, but "never" those related to direct attention, which "is a regional competence," says the spokesman.
What the National Federation of Associations of Separated and Divorced Women does not understand is why, if the sentence is from 2017, in previous years "there has been no problem with the subsidy until this year." Pérez del Campo directly points to "a political problem of Podemos" because for 30 years "whoever governs governs, the center has received the subsidy on time" with the exception of the last call, in which "we have asked for it as always, as we came doing it before," says the founder, who focuses on the importance of a pioneering center that is an international reference in the face of the "horror" of sexist violence, which has left four murders in just one week.
The Ministry of Social Rights assures that the application of the Constitutional ruling "has been progressive." "From then on there was an adjustment to the call, but it left many pending fringes and a certain continuity, which gave rise to some projects that were there on the limit". This year, with the addition to the distribution of the Corporation Tax funds and after the warning from the State Lawyer, "it was necessary to objectify much more and define what can enter and what cannot so as not to leave it to the interpretation of the management centers" , add the same fonts.
The department's spokesman points out that "all the organizations have known for a long time that they were going to receive a lower amount because this existing legal impossibility had to be solved" and assures that "everything has been negotiated with the third sector", telephones have been enabled informative and has been "published on the web" through "explanatory circulars", in addition to holding "an open meeting by streaming to report on the changes in which all the entities that wanted participated". The federation, however, alleges that no one informed them of the change or that income would plummet in such a way.
On the other hand, he affirms that the resolution that he has received for the subsidy has not been negative and that, in fact, they have received something more than 200,000 euros, so "it is not understood" that it is a product of the application of the sentence . From Social Rights they affirm, for their part, that "in all cases an attempt has been made to make the most favorable interpretation possible" to "give the entities time to present projects about which there is no doubt".
Pérez del Campo shows concern about the continuity of the center. "We may not be able to take much longer, although I am moving so that it does not happen, although at this age I should be resting," says the historical feminist, who does not hide her anger that the ministers Ione Belarra and Irene Montero "have not received me despite the number of times I have requested it". "They refer me to the General Director of Family Diversity and Social Services, but I know that the one who has the power to fix this and decide is the minister," she adds.
In order to solve the damages that the full application of the Constitutional ruling would have on feminist entities, the Ministry of Equality proposed in November 2021, during the renewal of the State Pact against Gender Violence, "that victim assistance organizations receive a percentage of the funds", something that, according to department sources, crystallized in the fact that "the last sectoral conference approved that the communities should finance these entities in this way". In addition, the Government Delegation against Gender Violence has set up a line of specific subsidies for awareness programs, they add.
On the other hand, from the Third Sector Platform they assure that "there has not been a change of model" in the last call, but that the double tranche system has been applied since 2017, although they recognize that "it is true that some things are still kicking and possibly the criteria have been adjusted," says a spokeswoman. The platform admits that it has been a "complicated" process and that in the first years "an effort was made to advise the entities", that "increasing numbers are aware of the double tranche model" and that "everything that is direct attention corresponds to the regional section".
Those responsible for the center requested a total of 268,381 euros from the Community of Madrid and granted 66,117. "We have done it as we have been doing it, the bulk is requested from the ministry because no one had informed us of this," says Pérez del Campo. A spokesman for the Ministry of Social Policies points out that "the project is never 100% financed, but the average is 25%". "We try to reach the maximum number of associations, but we don't know how much of the section we will have until it reaches us. Everything is agreed with the third sector," he adds.
In any case, the federation's concern now is how to guarantee the viability of a project considered a success from its first year of implementation and which, according to data from the organization, has resulted in a 71% comprehensive recovery rate in the women. "This is having repercussions in the lives of women. "It is the only center with these characteristics, in which we offer a program not only to restore the victims, but to begin to walk the beginning of the end of violence, in them and in their sons and daughters. And the reality is that right now this is at risk," concludes Pérez del Campo.