96% of victims of domestic violence say the cost of living crisis has made things worse | UK News

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The cost of living crisis is responsible for a third more women reporting domestic violence to charities, a Sky News research has found.

Several victims and charities say the financial pressure on families is causing women to come forward at “unprecedented levels”.

The National Domestic Abuse Helpline is posting record numbers, with one support agent telling us there is regularly a five-hour wait to get through to a caller.

Picture:
Sophia Jones

New research from Women’s Aid shows that 96% of victims say the Cost of Living Crisis exacerbates their abuse, and 73% of victims say they are afraid to leave their abusive homes for financial reasons. Those who leave face an uphill battle to find accommodation as most shelters are full.

Sophie Jones, a family worker at the Cassandra Centre, said: “We are seeing more women coming forward than ever. Every day we receive more and more recommendations. The cost of living crisis is making an already broken system worse.”

Women’s Aid calls on the government for more help. Chief Executive Farah Nazeer said: “This crisis is having an unprecedented impact on women and children and requires urgent action.

“We urge the government to provide an emergency relief fund for survivors to offset the impact of the cost of living crisis. We also request that the government offer discounts on energy bills for domestic violence services that provide life-saving support.

“We are fast approaching the winter months, when the crisis will only get worse. The survivors have suffered enough being trapped in their homes during COVID. They must be offered the help they need to support their children and be free from abuse.”

Labor MP Rosie Duffield has been a victim of domestic violence. In 2019 she gave her testimony before the House of Commons.

Rosie Duffield revealed she was a victim of domestic violence
Picture:
Rosie Duffield

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She said: “It’s been three years since I’ve done this and every day I’ve had women contacting me asking for help. A lady emailed me last night.

“The cost of living has a big impact. There are all these factors like extra stress, job insecurity, all these things make life even more scary for an abuse victim. You walk through the door not knowing what you’re going to get.”

In April, Sky News revealed how Victims of domestic violence have been subjected to “terrible” conditionswith ants plague and windowless rooms.

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Domestic Abuse: The Hidden Housing Crisis

We have found that thousands of women and children are unable to find permanent shelter after fleeing an abusive home. Many shelters are full, and victims are often moved around in emergency shelters for months – even years.

We spoke to a mother who fled with her young son seven years ago. And they have still not been offered a permanent home.

Karen, who cannot be identified, said: “I naively assumed that in a situation this dangerous, there would be that web holding and grabbing you. But unfortunately that didn’t happen.

“I had no help whatsoever from the local authorities I dealt with. You don’t see me as a victim. They only see me as a number. I’m trying to explain that my son is really traumatized and he needs a home. He has suffered so much. He was moved six times in seven years. He’s so unhappy.

“I haven’t said anything for years because I’m scared. I’m still scared, but the need to speak out and tell people how it really is is greater.”

Despite the increase in the number of women coming forward, the latest crime statistics show that domestic violence prosecutions have fallen by 6%.

The Cassandra Centre, an independent charity in south London that supports victims in the capital, receives no government funding.

We spoke to several victims there who never found justice. A young mother told us that although her partner was arrested 26 times, he was never convicted.

A government spokesman said: “Domestic violence is a devastating crime that ruins lives. We are working across the government to ensure victims, survivors and their families are fully supported.

“Our Domestic Violence Plan is investing over £230m, with over £140m going to support victims and survivors.”

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