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Charities warn rising bills could put domestic abuse survivors at greater risk

This news post is over 2 years old

Concerns have been raised about the impact of the cost of living crisis on women.

Scottish charities have warned that the cost of living crisis facing people across the country will leave victims of domestic violence “even more vulnerable” and potentially “trap” them with their abuser. 

Campaigners from Scottish Women’s Aid, Close the Gap and other groups said on Sunday that rapidly rising bills will have a hidden cost for those experiencing abuse - particularly those living on the poverty line. 

A report by investigative journalism platform The Ferret claims that women across Scotland are more at risk as the cost of living continues to rise. 

Research conducted by Scottish Women’s Aid found victims of domestic violence rarely have control of their own money, with more than 90 per cent subject to economic abuse. 

A lack of financial independence can be an important factor in women choosing to return to an abuser, charities have said. 

All women are more vulnerable due to the ramifications of entrenched inequalities across work and childcare, campaigners warned. 

Anna Ritchie Allan, executive director of women’s labour charity Close the Gap, said: “Women’s employment has been badly affected by Covid-19, and women who were already struggling are now under enormous financial pressure as they’re pulled deeper into poverty.

“Women’s employment has been badly affected by Covid-19, and women who were already struggling are now under enormous financial pressure as they’re pulled deeper into poverty. 

“This creates significant risks to women’s financial independence and makes them more vulnerable to economic abuse.”

In April fuel bills across Britain are set to rise, with the energy price cap to rise on average by 54 per cent. 

Those supporting survivors of domestic abuse have now called for intervention to provide further protections for those at risk - including the creation of an economic recovery plan for women.  

Martha Scott, CEO of Scottish Women’s Aid, told the Ferret: “When domestic abuse is added into the equation, the injustices multiply and the social and individual costs mount.

“A huge factor constraining women’s and children’s choices in resisting domestic abuse is their economic disadvantage.

“We need a national economic strategy that prioritises closing the gender pay gap, that makes the paid labour market work for women, that includes the massive care economy in its analysis and planning.

“There also needs to be adequate investment in childcare.

“It’s not rocket science, it’s politics done right – if you’re serious about ending domestic abuse and making Scotland fairer and more equal.”