The new campaign seeks to highlight how we can all play a part in tackling domestic abuse
‘Speak Out’ follows 20 years of campaigning by Sun readers on behalf of domestic abuse survivors from campaigns such as Save Our Shelters, Give Us Shelter and helping to shape the domestic violence bill in 2021.
To launch the campaign, The Sun joined Women’s Aid Patron, Mel B MBE, on a visit to a refuge visiting domestic abuse survivors to highlight the crippling pressure on women’s refuges up and down the country posed by the current cost of living crisis.
Mel B said: “It is really hard to know what to do or say and in many ways domestic abuse is still a taboo issue. It is not just a ’women’s issue’, it is for men and everyone.
“If you know someone in your life who you fear might be going through this, it is so important they know they can talk about it. I have always spoken out because I believe it is so important.
“We know already that it often takes 7 or 8 attempts to leave an abusive relationship. It is already such a struggle to leave, but when you are more fearful than ever about money, it makes it ten times harder.
“And for women fleeing abusive relationships the financial side is a huge burden. By coming somewhere here they can take that first step. But we need to support these places which are so important.”
Not only have the costs of running refuges more than tripled, increasing numbers of women are feeling trapped in abusive relationships because they worry about the cost of running a household alone.
Women’s Aid reports that 96% of women they surveyed who have suffered abuse in the last year said the cost-of-living crisis had a negative impact on their financial situation.
73% said the cost-of-living crisis had prevented them from leaving or made it much harder to leave and more than half of women still living in abusive relationships said their partners had used increased concerns about finances as a tool of coercive control.
Women’s Aid is calling on the Home Office to offer an emergency support fund for survivors to offset the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on shelters.
Victoria Newton, Sun editor said: “I’m proud of the incredibly important and necessary change for domestic abuse survivors that the long term and on-going partnership between The Sun and Women’s Aid over many years has led to.
“The Sun’s readers have been at the forefront of the paper’s long-standing commitment to battling domestic violence, whether it be writing and signing letters or donating money where they can to raise vital funds.
“The cost-of-living crisis is the number one issue in Sun readers’ minds right now, and I know they’ll be interested to hear more about how this crisis is also affecting women coming forward, as well as the shelters they have helped to save in the past.”
Farah Nazeer, chief executive of Women’s Aid told The Sun: “The current cost of living crisis has been devastating to survivors of domestic abuse. We know that domestic abuse goes hand in hand with abusers often controlling every aspect of a woman’s life.
“The soaring energy and food costs will leave many women more vulnerable to abuse.”
Find out more about the ‘Speak Out’ campaign here.