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A survey highlighting the desperate plight of female victims of domestic abuse in the West Midlands during the cost of living crisis has been taken to the corridors of power.

West Midlands Victims’ Commissioner Nicky Brennan handed her investigation into the impact of the rising cost of living on victims of domestic abuse in the West Midlands into Shadow Minister for Domestic Violence Jess Phillips MP at the House of Commons today.

The report contains numerous accounts from female victims of abuse, whose situation has been made even worse by spiralling bills.

Many of those who took part said they were now unable to leave their abuser or had been further controlled by economic abuse.

Handing in the findings, Nicky Brennan demanded the government take seven steps to help victims of abuse.

They are: 

  • An increased uplift to victims’ services
  • A commitment to provide a multi-year funding strategy in line with inflation
  • Overhaul of child maintenance service
  • Commitment for increased number of specialist refuge bed spaces in West Midlands
  • Overhaul how Universal Credit works for victims of domestic abuse
  • Commitment for benefits to rise in line with inflation
  • A commitment to working towards a whole culture change

West Midlands Victims’ Commissioner Nicky Brennan said: “This report has been based on the real-life experiences and voices of women who are victims of abuse living in the West Midlands.

“Their harrowing stories and cries for help cannot be ignored or brushed aside by government any longer.

“In the four months it has taken to research and write this report we have had three Prime Ministers.

“The chaotic and shambolic leadership has delayed action, caused further instability and consequences for victims in which the government must take responsibility for the harm they have caused and move quickly to address this before issues get worse.”

Some of the hard-hitting comments from those being abused include:

“I’m a beaten wreck…No one comes, no one helps”

“I cannot leave my abuser I am stuck. No money, no place to go. Sometimes I think he will kill me”

“Takes the children’s things and doesn’t give them back so I have to buy more”

“Doesn’t pay child maintenance as a way for me to message him to chase it.”

“Very abusive over contact with children due to cost of living”

Shadow Domestic Violence and Safeguarding Minister Jess Phillips MP said: “This is a significant report and I thank West Midlands Victims’ Commissioner Nicky Brennan for all her work on highlighting the plight of dozens of women across the West Midlands. 

“I do all I can to support victims of domestic abuse and will use this report in future work, this includes using Nicky’s recommendations as parliamentary questions for the Prime Minister.”

The link between Cost of Living and Domestic Abuse

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