As one of the largest providers of services for survivors of male violence, Solace is concerned about the impact increased costs on energy bills, food and housing across London. 92% of survivors have been impacted by the cost of living crisis and we are calling on Government to provide urgent support for survivors of domestic abuse who are once again at the sharp end of a national crisis.
The impact of rising costs on domestic abuse survivors
The rise in living costs is making it harder for women and their children to leave violent and abusive situations and when they do the impact of inflation and energy prices is making basics such as food, accommodation and gas and electricity bills increasingly unaffordable.
Over half of survivors have already seen essential resources restricted by their abuser.
The rising costs of housing, particularly in the private rented sector, and the continuing poor quality of housing are also creating barriers to women fleeing abuse – our research found that 70% of our survivors have a housing need and survivors regularly tell us the risk of becoming homeless led to them staying in abusive relationships. When housing is in poor condition or becomes unaffordable, survivors can also feel they have no choice but to return to perpetrators.
The lack of social housing means most homeless households, including survivors of domestic abuse, are increasingly housed in the private rented sector, which is becoming completely unaffordable in London.
Our asks to Government
To address the immediate and increasing impact of the cost of living on survivors of domestic abuse, we are calling on the Government to:
- Return Local Housing Allowance to being linked to actual market rent levels
- Reintroduce the Universal Credit uplift by increasing rates by £20 per week over the winter
- Lift the benefit cap and two-child limit for Universal Credit for domestic abuse survivors.
- Introduce an Emergency Domestic Abuse Fund to support survivors of domestic abuse through this crisis period, to pay for essential items and energy bills, as recommended by Women’s Aid.
- Review existing funding streams to support violence against women and girls and provide uplifts that recognise the increased costs for survivors, frontline staff, and services.
We work with key stakeholders including MPs, peers, councillors and wider decision makers. If you are interested in working with Solace and our priorities, contact our Public Affairs lead, Rebecca Goshawk on firstname.lastname@example.org.