The cost-of-Living Crisis is a major issue that affects millions of people across the UK. With rising inflation, stagnant wages and increased living expenses, many people are struggling to make ends meet. This has been very significant to those in an abusive relationship.
What is an abusive relationship?
Abusive relationships can take many forms, from physical violence to emotional manipulation. It should also be noted that another way abuse can occur is through financial control. Financial abuse may take the form of restricting the victim’s access to money, preventing them from working or forcing them to give up their income. With the victim unable to use their finances, the abuser makes the victim feel as if they are more financially secure in their current relationship and unable to leave.
The effect of the Cost-of-Living Crisis
The cost-of-living crisis makes this problem even more defined as it becomes even harder for victims to leave. Many victims of abuse are already struggling to make ends meet, and with the rising costs of food, housing and utilities it means that victims might not have the funds available to leave and start a new life. A Refuge investigation found that there has been an increase of 87% in cases where there is complex economic abuse since 2021. The impact of the cost-of-living crisis is not just limited to those already in an abusive relationship, the financial strain of living in poverty or on low wages can contribute to the development of an abusive relationship. When people are struggling to fund their days, they might be more vulnerable to exploitation from partners who promise financial stability. According to a survey conducted by women’s Aid, 80% of survivors of domestic abuse reported experiencing economic abuse, and 54% reported that their partner’s control of their finances had a severe or extreme impact on their ability to escape abuse.
Difficulty Finding Affordable Housing
Affordable housing is essential for victims of abuse who are trying to escape and rebuild their lives. However, with the rise in living costs and housing costs, finding affordable housing has become increasingly difficult. As a result, victims are forced to remain in an abusive relationship to keep from becoming homeless. A study conducted by the University of Bristol found that welfare reforms in the UK, including cuts to housing benefits, have led to a rise in homelessness among women fleeing domestic abuse. The study found that 60% of women in temporary accommodation reported leaving their homes due to domestic abuse.
Effects on Children
Children who witness abuse in the home can also experience negative effects on their physical and mental health. They might feel unsafe in their own home, have trouble selling or eating, and have behavioural problems. Children who are growing up in an abusive household are also at a higher risk of experiencing abuse in future relationships.
If your life is in immediate danger call the police on 999.
See Gov.uk for more information on reporting domestic abuse.
Many charities are dedicated to helping the survivors of domestic abuse, they can offer a great deal of practical, financial, and emotional support.