Written by Amy Beecham
How you can help survivors of domestic abuse this summer, according to charity Solace.
Summer: warm and hazy days, lighter nights, a sense of relaxation and joy in the air. But London-based women’s charity Solace’s summer appeal raises an important point: domestic abuse doesn’t take a holiday.
“While many people are looking forward to a summer holiday at home or abroad, many survivors are wondering whether they can afford to getaway from a violent partner,” shares Solace’s director, Jane Jutsum.
“The rising cost of living has hit London hard and will impact on the ability for women and children to leave abusive homes and get the right support,” she continues.“Our campaign reminds people that whilst we are enjoying the sunshine, women and children still need urgent, vital support and Solace are here for them.”
Indeed, survivors now face additional barriers due to the rising cost of living, as inflation rates hit a 40-year high. Without the means to access secure housing, buy food and pay energy bills, women are being forced to choose between domestic abuse or homelessness and starvation.
Hestia, a charity providing support to those fleeing domestic abuse in London and south-east England, have already reported a 30% increase in requests for accommodation in the first three months of 2022, with the situation expected to worsen as costs rise.
More than 7,000 survivors are expected to arrive at Solace’s doors this summer, so they have launched their ‘Perfect Getaway’ campaign to highlight the difficulties they are facing and raise essential funds to support them.
Summer is already a difficult time for women experiencing domestic violence.According to the charity, the rising heat sees shorter tempers and increased rates of violence. And while summer holidays are meant to be a joyful break from school, for some children, they are more at risk of seeing violence or being hurt themselves.
“My ex made me and our five month old baby homeless”
Sasha*, 29, who experienced financial abuse from her partner, tells Stylist that the cost-of-living crisis is “at this point better described as the cost-of-surviving crisis.”
“Victims of abuse are often forgotten when we talk about the impacts of poverty, but if you know or can imagine that poverty impedes your quality of life and access to vital services, that only worsens when you factor domestic abuse into the equation.
“What concerns me right now is that there are and will be more victims of domestic abuse that will no longer have the option or ability to flee because of the financial burden that comes with it.”
Eventually, with support from domestic violence charity Refuge, Sasha and her son moved into their own home.
“Although it was incredibly stressful and completely life-altering, him taking away our home got me away from him for long enough to notice how much better I felt when he wasn’t there,” she says. “It made me realise how much power he had had over me and how exhausting being with him was.”
Solace is aiming to raise £20,000 through their Perfect Getaway campaign to provide immediate, vital support for women and children experiencing violence. To donate, visit soalcewomensaid.org.
In the UK, the domestic violence helpline is 0808 2000 247. Alternatively, contact Women’s Aid, Solace or Refuge for advice and support.
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