While the cost-of-living crisis is challenging for everyone, it is having destructive consequences for people experiencing domestic abuse.  

The charity Surviving Economic Abuse has described how abusers can take advantage of the current crisis to force victims to pay more, push them into (more) debt or force them to live in poverty. Economic abuse is one of a number of different forms that abuse can take and involves the control of access to money, resources or employment. 

The cost-of-living crisis also increases the cost of leaving an abuser and living on a single income. A survivor who has children to support may fear that they will be unable to support their family if they leave. Some frontline workers at Refuge have even said that survivors have returned to perpetrators because they cannot afford to live alone or as a single parent

In a survey carried out by Women’s Aid, 50% of survivors said that they were prevented from fleeing given the reality of not being able to support their children and 73% said that the cost-of-living crisis had either prevented or made it harder for them to leave. The charity Hestia has also reported a 30% increase in demand for domestic abuse refuge as a result of the cost-of-living crisis. 

That’s why it’s more important than ever for employers to ensure that you are aware of the signs of domestic abuse and know how to keep staff safe if a disclosure of abuse is made. We recommend that employers:  

  • Become a member of EIDA today – it’s free and you will have access to lots of resources as well as our 1,000-strong community of organisations changing the workplace culture on domestic abuse. 

  • Consider your domestic abuse policy or guidance in light of the cost-of-living crisis. Some EIDA members offer a period of leave with paid accommodation for those fleeing an abusive relationship and/or special paid leave for childcare. 

  • Be ready to signpost individuals affected by domestic abuse who are concerned about the financial impact of leaving an abuser to organisations who might be able to help. For example, Surviving Economic Abuse has put together a useful list of sources of financial support here.  

As an employer, you can make a huge difference in easing the financial burden, supporting your employee to leave their abuser and potentially saving their life.

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