Abusers can take advantage of the rising cost of living to force victim-survivors to pay more, push them further into debt and exploit their economic situation. The repercussions of this abuse will be greater with the steep rise in living costs meaning many victim-survivors are already in financial difficulty. Increasing financial pressures will further restrict victim-survivors’ options, even trapping them with an abuser.
SEA and partners Money Advice Plus found that:
Support for victim-survivors is critical at this time.
SEA has two priority calls for the Government:
A recent Women’s Aid study found that 73% of those living with an abuser said the crisis had either prevented them from leaving or made it harder to do so. Together with Women’s Aid, Surviving Economic Abuse is calling on the Government to provide an emergency support fund covering every local authority. This fund would enable women to flee domestic abuse and help cover the short-term costs of moving. The fund should be available to all women, including those with no recourse to public funds (NRPF). Financial support for women to support them at the point of leaving is vital to allow them to reach safety and begin to rebuild their lives.
With the costs of essential items and bills rising sharply, women experiencing domestic abuse will have even fewer resources to pay for the legal costs needed to separate from an abuser. Our Denied Justice report found that 45% of women made serious cutbacks that affected their ability to pay for basics, such as food, in order to pay legal fees. This situation will only have worsened due to the rising cost of living, with victim-survivors who are denied legal aid having no way of paying the legal fees that will help them to reach safety. We are reiterating our call that the legal means test is scrapped for all victim-survivors of domestic abuse.
*Refuge, 2020. Know Economic Abuse.
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