Domestic abuse charity calls for more support due to cost-of-living crisis
The cost-of-living crisis could be a “matter of life and death” for women and children experiencing domestic abuse, campaigners have warned.
Scottish Women’s Aid is calling on the Scottish Government to set up a dedicated fund, designed to help women experiencing abuse with the costs of leaving.
Marsha Scott (pictured), chief executive of the charity, said: “With winter upon us and costs spiralling, without access to additional funds to support them, women must choose between staying with abusers or experiencing homelessness and destitution.”
She made the comments as Scottish Women’s Aid launched its #CostOfLeaving campaign as it begins 16 days of activism to end gender-based violence.
Scottish Women’s Aid wants those fleeing abusive relationships to be able to access cash to help with “essential crisis costs” as they wait for benefits money to come though.
The charity said that while a recommendation for this had been accepted two years ago, “this fund is yet to materialise and women and children are suffering as a result”.
Dr Scott said: “Women experiencing domestic abuse face a cost-of-living crisis every day. As do their children.
“With winter upon us and costs spiralling, without access to additional funds to support them, women must choose between staying with abusers or experiencing homelessness and destitution.
“We know the Scottish Government shares our goal of ending men’s violence against women, but we are concerned that the needs of women and children experiencing domestic abuse have slipped down the priority list.
“Children’s and women’s needs must be a headline in Scotland’s response to the cost-of-living crisis, not a footnote explaining why they are an afterthought.
“Strong leadership and a demonstration of political will are required – we’re calling on the Scottish Government and Parliament to keep the promises they’ve made to women and children experiencing domestic abuse and take urgent action on practical steps that will help them.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We’re very concerned about the additional hardship women and children experiencing domestic abuse are facing as a result of the cost-of-living crisis. We recognise this can impact their ability to leave the abuser.
“We’re exploring the delivery of the financial support that women may need when leaving an abusive partner. This is why we’re working with Scottish Women’s Aid and other organisations to discuss how this support can be best developed and delivered.
“We’re also giving social landlords greater control to transfer housing tenancies to a domestic abuse survivor, to help them avoid homelessness.
“We have allocated almost £3 billion in this financial year that will help people facing the increased cost of living – including £1 billion in providing services and financial support not available elsewhere in the UK.
“As well as support through our delivering equally safe fund – which is providing £24 million to help tackle domestic abuse – and Scotland’s domestic abuse and forced marriage helpline, we’ve widened access to the best start grant pregnancy and baby payment.”
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