Women’s Aid highlights impact of cost of living crisis on women experiencing domestic abuse

Steep rises in the cost of food and energy are hard enough to deal with if you are on a low income. If you are in a situation where you are not safe at home, the impact is so much worse.

Women’s Aid have published the results of a survey of women who have experienced domestic abuse and the results make terrifying reading.

They found that:

Almost all survivors (96%) responding had seen a negative impact on the amount of money available to them as a result of cost of living increases. 

Two thirds (66%) of survivors told us that abusers are now using the cost of living increase and concerns about financial hardship as a tool for coercive control, including to justify further restricting their access to money. 

Almost three quarters (73%) of women living with and having financial links with the abuser said that the cost of living crisis had either prevented them from leaving or made it harder for them to leave. 

It is hard enough to leave an abusive partner and it is awful to think that there are even more barriers to women reaching safety because of the current economic situation.

Women’s Aid call for the following:

An Emergency Domestic Abuse Fund to support  survivors of domestic abuse through this crisis period, to pay for essential items and energy bills. 

Reduced energy costs for all refuges during the cost of living crisis, for example by extending the remit of Warm Home Discount Scheme to include refuges;

Better provision of legal services for survivors; reduce the impact of legal aid costs for survivors; fairer access to legal aid and other advocacy services and interest-free loans for legal support where necessary.

Their Chief Executive, Farah Nazeer, said:

This crisis is having an unprecedented impact on women and children and requires urgent action. While the government has made some positive progress in this area, more must be done. We urge the government to provide an Emergency Support Fund for Survivors to offset the impact of the cost of living crisis. We also ask that the government offers discounts on energy bills to domestic abuse services that provide lifesaving support.

We are quickly approaching the winter months where the crisis will only get worse. Survivors have suffered enough, having been trapped in their homes during COVID: they must be offered the help they need to support their children and to be free from abuse.

These findings should concern all Liberal Democrats and might inform some potential amendments to motions for the forthcoming Conference. We will be debating things such as a policy paper on creating a fairer society and a motion on child maintenance. The latter already takes domestic abuse into account but may be worth some more specific recommendations. You can see more details in the agenda here.

 

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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One Comment

  • Lorenzo Cherin 4th Aug '22 - 12:32am

    It’s appalling how only when the whole country talks about something, or beyond, people most vulnerable get noticed.

    This site and those from its editors those like Caron, to us who write articles also or comments, here we raise these issues regardless of the trends.

    Poverty always impacts those least powerful, and they too therefore are, even in good economies, likely to suffer.

    A basic income was not advocated in this piece quoted, ie for women victims of abuse. Our party must clearly make that case, as it is our most important recent policy development.

    It ought not to be universal. Pay this as basic, to all basic rate tax payers, and to all those not paying tax. Make it a hundred pounds or more. This is more than every suggestion re: women’s aid or other boosts re: cost of living crisis.

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