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Your safety
Only take the actions below if it is safe to do so. You are the best judge of whether making any changes might lead to further harm. In an emergency, call 999.

Grants, benefits and financial help

If you have experienced economic abuse, you may be struggling to make ends meet and need some financial help.  

There are many organisations and charities that support people in financial difficulty with grants and provisions to help with day-to-day expenses. There are also charities and organisations that can support you with money and debt information or advice.

“It’s a life-altering situation with no way to rebuild, recover, heal. What to do when there is nowhere to turn to?”

Your local council or Citizens Advice can help you find grants that are specific to your region. If you are a parent, children and family centres may have provisions for those experiencing financial difficulty – they may also provide their own food bank. To find details of family centres or hubs in your area, check your local council’s website or search here. Local libraries also have guides that list trusts and charities. You can ask for ‘The Educational Grants Directory’, ‘The Grants Register’, ‘A Guide to Grants for Individuals in Need’ or the ‘Directory of Grant Making Trusts’. Some libraries may have online resources.

We have information specifically relating to the financial support that is available during the cost-of-living crisis.

In partnership with:

Money Advice Plus
General grants
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There are a number of funds available to women who have experienced domestic abuse. You can search a full list of available funds on the Turn2us website at grants-search.turn2us.org.uk.

The process for applying will vary for each fund. See the website listed for details of how to apply for each grant. In some cases, applications need to be made through a support worker or charity.

Eligibility criteria varies, and may depend on your income, savings and housing situation, as well as whether you have dependent children.

Heinz, Anna and Carol Kroch Foundation

Provides financial support for people with ongoing medical problems who are in financial hardship who have recently experienced domestic violence or are homeless. Applications must be submitted by a recognised agency, such as a social worker, local authority or a charity such as Citizens Advice.

St Andrew’s Society for Ladies in Need

Provides grants to British women with a good standard of education who are retired or unable to work and live alone. Gives priority to women who are trying to maintain their own home. One-off, special grants can be provided to help with expenses including heating, the cost of moving and replacing household appliances.

Cosaraf Hardship Fund

The Hardship Fund offers grants to those living in the UK only with grants of up to £2,000 available for eligible individuals and families.

The Foundation distributes both Zakat and Sadaqah funds. Sadaqah funds are available for all people of all faiths and none. Zakat funds are only available for Muslim applicants.

https://www.greggsfoundation.org.uk/grants/hardship-funding

Turn2us Response Fund

Supports people in financial hardship due to a life-changing event, including domestic abuse. Grants are provided for specific needs to help maintain normal daily living if a life-changing event took place in the last 12 months. Other life-changing events include:

  • beginning to live with a disability
  • ill-health or injury
  • a recent diagnosis of poor physical or mental wellbeing
  • relationship breakdown
  • a reduction in working hours due to ill-health or an accident
  • unsafe, insecure or inappropriate housing arrangements.

Applications to the Response Fund can only be made through partner organisations listed on the website, including Family Fund, Shelter and Refuge.

Supporting children
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If you are experiencing economic abuse and supporting children, we have more information on help that is available.

Buttle UK

Offers grants to support children and young people whose families have experienced domestic abuse. Grants can help with household needs, such as clothing or school uniforms, toys and baby equipment, furniture and moving costs. Grants can also fund activities to support emotional and social needs, including therapy and after school clubs, books, laptops, tutoring and travel costs.

Care to Learn

If you are under 20 and want to start or return to education, Care to Learn may provide support for your childcare costs.

Family Action

Provides grants to families in crisis, including those who have recently experienced domestic abuse. The programme provides grants for essential personal and household needs to help families on low incomes. Applications must be made through a referring agency, including a health or social care worker, or a domestic abuse support charity.

BBC Children in Need Emergency Essentials Programme

Supports children and young people facing exceptionally difficult circumstances. The programme provides items to help meet children’s basic needs, including a bed, a cooker, and other critical items. A referring agency must make the application.

Utilities
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See information on government grants for your energy bills on our page, Economic support during the cost-of-living crisis

Energy

If you are in financial difficulty, your energy supplier may be able to support you by:

  • reassessing debt repayments and bill payments
  • reducing or pausing payments.

Some utility companies offer grants to help pay debts you might owe to your energy supplier.

The British Gas Energy Trust offers grants and schemes that can help, even if you are not a customer.

Other energy companies offer grants and financial help specifically for their own customers. Many of these are managed by Charis. This page is updated with schemes currently open for applications.

You can also contact your energy provider directly:

 

Your energy supplier may ask for detailed financial information if you apply for a grant. Some organisations can help you with these forms, including Citizens Advice.

Water

Many water providers have a financial hardship fund that can help you to clear any debts you may owe to your water provider. CCW has a list of the providers and how to access their hardship funds. They also have information on further support that your water provider may be able to offer.

Financial services
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Some financial services providers, including banks and building societies, have a hardship fund for customers in financial difficulty. They may also have a specific fund available for customers fleeing domestic abuse. You can ask your financial services provider if they have a fund like this and how you can access it.

You can use our Banking Support Directory to learn about the support that many major banks and building societies can offer, and how you can get in touch with them.

Furniture
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Some women leave an abusive situation with little to no money, even for essential furnishings. There are organisations that can help provide beds, tables, cookers, and other essential furnishings.

Local organisations and charities, including church groups and community centres, may also be able to provide you with furniture.

Reuse Network

Has centres across England, Wales and Scotland that provide affordable household items and IT equipment to those in financial hardship.

End Furniture Poverty

Lists several ways to get furniture, including with grants. Also offers information on how to approach your council or landlord for help with furnishings.

Greggs Foundation Hardship Funding

A small grants programme to support individuals and families who suddenly find themselves in difficult financial circumstances.

The Foundation offers vouchers and individual items including washing machines, fridges and cookers.

The Foundation only accept applications from pre-approved referral partners. This includes social organisations such as charities registered with the Charity Commission, housing associations and social services acting on behalf of a family or individual in need.

Pets
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Dogs Trust Freedom Project

Refuges for women leaving domestic abuse are often unable to take pets, including dogs. Dogs Trust offers free and confidential foster care while their owner is in a refuge.

Cats Protection Lifeline

Cats Protection has a network of fosterers that provides a retreat for cats of people going into a refuge until the owner has a safe place to live and they can be reunited. The Paws Protect program covers all the costs of fostering, including cat food, bowls, beds and vaccinations, and they can also give you updates so you know your cat is receiving the best care.

Endeavour Project

The Endeavour Project provides a fostering service to victim-survivors living in the North West. Established in 1998, the service supports foster placements for all domestic pets including cats, reptiles, fish and small animals.

Refuge4Pets

Refuge4Pets provides an animal fostering service across Devon and Cornwall to victim-survivors of domestic abuse so that they can leave with their much-loved pets. The foster service covers dogs, cats, horses, birds, reptiles, rabbits and other pets such as guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils and fish (even livestock and exotics).

Pet Fostering Service Scotland

Pet Fostering Service Scotland provides short term emergency care for pets when their owner is unable to do so through illness, homelessness or domestic abuse.

Travel and transport
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Travel to Refuge

Travel to Refuge is a scheme whereby travel companies cover the cost of train or coach tickets for women, men and children escaping domestic abuse travelling to refuge accommodation.

You can use the Women’s Aid Live Chat service, where trained support workers can help you access these services.

Northern Ireland

Free travel on bus or rail is available in Northern Ireland if you have refuge or emergency accommodation.

Looking for employment
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Smart Works

Smart Works provides unemployed women in need with high-quality business clothes and interview training. You will need a referral from another organisation, such as a job centre, mental health charity, or refuge.

The Sharan Project

The Sharan Project can provide a range of free, confidential, non judgmental advice, support or guidance on everything from CV’s to interview techniques.

Local welfare assistance schemes
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England

Ask your local Citizens Advice if your local council operates a welfare assistance scheme or hardship fund and how you can apply. The support could be a grant, loan or other support, for example food vouchers. The help available and criteria varies from council to council.

Scotland 

There is a nationwide system of crisis grants that are available through the Scottish Welfare Fund.

Wales

The Discretionary Assistance Fund is a grant to help pay for essential costs, such as food, gas, electricity, clothing or emergency travel if you are experiencing extreme financial hardship.

Northern Ireland 

The Discretionary Support scheme supports people who are in need of short-term financial help.

Industry-specific grants
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Certain industries and workplaces have charities or schemes that provide financial assistance to workers in need. Your workplace may also have a scheme, even if it is not listed here.

Bank Workers Charity

Economic abuse can happen to anyone, including bank employees. The Bank Workers Charity advocate for the health and wellbeing of current and former bank employees, and can provide financial support and legal advice for workers. They may be able to help with living expenses in the short term, disability aids, respite breaks for carers, transport costs and more.

B&CE Charitable Trust

Provides help if you currently work in construction or if you’ve done so previously. They can help with homelessness, rent in advance, arrears, essential utility arrears (gas, electricity, water, oil and council tax), funeral costs and support towards mobility aids for individuals with medical needs.

Cavell Nurses’ Trust

Provides financial help to nurses, midwives, nursing associates, maternity support workers and healthcare assistants, both working and retired. You must have less than £4,000 in savings to be eligible.

For You, By You

Can provide financial assistance for current and former civil servants in financial difficulty. Help can be provided for household bills, equipment and travel costs. May also be able to help with clearing priority debts, such as rent or council tax arrears. You may need to show a bank statement, a recent payslip or pension letter, a breakdown of income and expenditure and copies of household bills.

Grocery Aid

Provides one-off grants to people working or who previously worked in the grocery industry, including supermarkets. You will need to provide detailed financial information and not have more than £6,000 in savings. Grocery Aid also provides grants of £150 to help pay for school essentials for children.

Hospitality Action

Can provide financial support to hospitality workers with limited savings. Grants can go towards household costs, debt solutions and one-off costs such as funerals, mobility aids or white goods.

Junius S. Morgan Benevolent Fund

Provides one-off grants to practising and retired nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants, as long as they have worked in the profession for at least 5 years. Grants are usually around £1,000 and can help with rent, bills and other essentials.

My Foothold

Helps engineers with less than £16,000 in savings deal with life events and unexpected costs.

Rainy Day Trust

Supports people who worked in the home improvement industry for at least 1 year and be on a low income, roughly £20,000 per year before tax.

Royal British Legion

Provides grants and advice to current and former Armed Forces personnel and their families. Grants can be a one-off emergency fund, help to find employment, help purchase mobility aids or make household adaptations.

Royal College of Nursing

The RCN provides grants to those in nursing and healthcare professions (both working and retired) to cover costs in times of hardship. Grants can help with rental deposits, white goods, childcare costs, mobility aids, essential clothing and more.

Teaching Staff Trust

Provides grants to a wide range of professionals in the education sector. They can help with bills, travel expenses and support after life-changing events. You will need to provide a payslip or benefits notification in your application.

The Care Workers’ Charity

Provides four types of grants to care workers: a Covid-19 emergency fund; a crisis grant (which includes domestic abuse and relationship breakdown); a mental health and well-being grant; and help with funeral costs.

The Drinks Trust

Gives financial assistance to those working in the UK drinks industry, or who have previously worked in the industry for at least 2 years. You will need to provide proof of financial hardship and they will pay the grant directly to the landlord/utility company where possible.

Benefits
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You do not need to be unemployed to receive certain government benefits, such as Universal Credit. To find out about the financial support and benefits available for people who have experienced domestic abuse, see Guidance from the Department for Work and Pensions.

This includes information on special conditions for:

  • Housing Benefit
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Universal Credit
  • the benefit cap
  • removal of the spare room subsidy
  • Discretionary Housing Payments
  • migrant partner support
  • child maintenance

Turn2us has a benefits calculator that you may find useful at benefits-calculator. turn2us.org.uk.

Reporting a change in circumstances

If you are already claiming any benefits and have been claiming jointly with the abuser, it is important to report a change in your circumstances following domestic abuse. This will enable you to begin receiving the benefits you are entitled to independently.

Reporting a change in circumstances can in some cases affect the benefits that the abuser receives. Remember to consider carefully whether doing this could lead to further harm from the abuser. You can seek support from your local domestic abuse service if you are concerned about this.

Groceries and other essentials
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Food banks

The cost-of-living crisis has increased grocery bills for many people. If you are living with an abuser, you may be facing even more restrictions or the abuser may be monitoring your spending more closely.

If you are struggling to pay for food, food banks can help. You will need a referral to use most food banks, but you can get this from a doctor, a school or social worker.

The Trussell Trust operates many food banks around the UK. You can check their website to find one near you.

Period products

If you are experiencing domestic abuse, the abuser might be limiting your funds for personal items like tampons and pads. Money Saving Expert has a full guide on where to find free sanitary products from places like libraries and even some grocery stores.

Last updated June 2024

Further support 

If you are experiencing economic abuse, you are not alone. We have more information that can support you to take steps towards safety and begin to regain control of your finances.

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