Cost of Poverty – Survivor Stories

Solace supports nearly 30,000 people every year in London to recover from domestic abuse and sexual violence. Throughout this crisis, we are there for women and girls who need us. 

These stories are real and we are supporting these women right now. Names and identifying features have been changed to protect their anonymity. 

Support us today. Donate now. 

Lucia’s Story

Lucia is a counsellor at Solace. She offers therapeutic support to survivors and has seen first-hand how this crisis is affecting them. 

The winter and cold weather are only just starting, but I fear this will only get worse as we move deeper into the cold months. 

I am already seeing the impact of rising cost of living and cuts to services on the women I support. I have women struggling to access basic services like the dentist or GP who are only accepting online bookings. This can cause health conditions to worsen. For clients who have limited resources and for whom English is a second language and the system is new, this can be a problem and add to the stress and sense of isolation.  

I have clients who are worried about how they are going to pay their bills and keep their children warm this winter. Many have taken the incredibly brave step to leave their abuser but are now facing poverty and homelessness as a result of this crisis, impacting their ability to recover and build stronger futures for themselves and their children. 

These are women who carry a lot of trauma and self-doubt as result of the abuse they have received. When they have ongoing legal proceedings, they are terrified that not being able to keep their places warm and pay their bills will reflect negatively on them, and that they may be accused of being ‘failing parents’ by the other side. 

The cost of living crisis is disproportionately impacting survivors. 31% of survivors have already reported increased levels of debt and we fear this will only get worse as we head into the colder months and the expensive festive season. 

We’ve got dedicated staff, just like Lucia, working hard to support survivors with emotional and practical support. Help us to stop women paying the price of poverty. Donate today

Sasha’s Story

Since Sasha was young, she had suffered violence at the hands of different abusive partners. When she reached out to Solace she was living in council property and suffering from emotional and physical abuse from her ex-partner who would frequently break in, go through her post and belongings. He controlled her finances which meant that she couldn’t afford to cover her bills and was building up huge debts. 

Sasha rang Solace because she was living in constant fear of another break-in. We were able to provide her safe accommodation so she was able to escape her ex-partner. 

Whilst staying in accommodation she’s been supported by her Solace worker who has been able to provide practical advice to secure benefits and other support she was entitled to as well as help pay off the debts her perpetrator had accrued in her name. 

“She has become much happier, confident and comfortable…I have had the pleasure of supporting her to feel like herself again” Solace worker

Now Sasha is safer and more financially secure, she can begin to recover from the abuse she experienced and tackle her PTSD. Her worker is now supporting her to move on and get her own flat. 

“I was living off of £90 a month before and now I get so much more than that. If I didn’t have the support, I’d still be on £90 a month. It’s only changed because of the support you gave me and having someone to listen.” 

“Solace kept me safe and helped me with a lot of my issues regarding debts, health, my family and my flat” 

“If anyone is suffering from abuse it doesn’t matter. There is no judgement here” 

Help us to reach more women like Sasha. 

Martha’s Story

Martha fled her abusive partner with her son, Freddy, to one of our Solace refuges last year. 

Since being in refuge, Martha and Freddy have received specialist support. From practical advice like registering for a GP and school, applying for housing benefit and organising the weekly food bank delivery. To emotional support to recover from abuse including work with a dedicated Family Support Worker to provide specialist support for Freddy.

Despite the huge upheaval of having to leave their home, move away from friends and family, and change schools they are so grateful to be safe in refuge. 

Martha has been working part-time and she’s been able to increase her hours which means she can no longer claim Universal Credit. Whilst in refuge she feels able to cover her costs and support from a food bank means that she can save a lot on food shopping. 

Martha and Freddy are preparing to leave refuge soon to start their new lives in independent accommodation. However, rising cost of energy bills and other essential costs means taking this important step is even scarier. Martha is really worried that she won’t be able to provide for herself and Freddy on a single income. 

This cost of living crisis is impacting survivors at every stage of their journey and increasing the barriers to recover and build safe, strong lives for their futures.