Written by Princess Temwa Mukuka, edited by Manuel Torres Lajo


Domestic abuse is a sensitive topic that needs much in-depth examination: from the role that culture and religion play to the fact that some victims still fail to leave their abusers due to underlying issues despite having a way out. Most women do not only face one type of abuse; they tend to face many overlapping forms that could be inextricably linked, such as emotional and psychological or physical and sexual. The cost of living crisis has magnified several forms of domestic abuse that women face on a daily basis. It has especially exposed how a country’s economic downturn could worsen such problems. There are many social and economic consequences to the legal and policy responses made by the state that could either help victims or place them in worse situations. This topic equally needs significant attention because once political systems fail to attend to them, then it might worsen the victim’s situation. It is essential to understand the economic consequences of policy and legal responses to domestic abuse, especially during the cost-of-living crisis. The interlinks among the state and its bodies (executive, judiciary and legislature) illustrate these systems’ fundamental role in improving or worsening the situation for the victim/survivor, including how they implement international law into their policies. Hence, this paper focuses on the social, political and economic impacts of women experiencing domestic abuse, while emphasising the political economy of such violence during the cost-of-living crisis.


Domestic violence and abuse are broad terms used interchangeably by various scholars and organisations. Domestic abuse is any form of harm that is inflicted on a person by the abuser or any threatening behaviour acted by the abuser towards a victim as a result of their vulnerability that is outrightly targeted and taken advantage of (Practice Direction, 2009; Daniel Greenberg, 2022; and Domestic Abuse Act 2021). This sort of harm does not only occur physically. In the case of Yemshaw v London Borough of Hounslow (2011), one of the main issues was the limitation of the term ‘violence’ under the 1996 Housing Act. The question was whether violence could have a broader definition to include other forms besides physical contact. In Danesh v Kensington and Chelsea Royal London Borough Council (2006), ‘violence’ was naturally seen to mean primarily physical violence, which tends to isolate physical abuse from other forms. However, Lady Hale in Yemshaw stated that this must not be the case as violence ought to have a broader definition to accommodate other overlooked forms of violence, such as stalking behaviour. She held that violence is one term that will constantly evolve depending on the circumstances of the situation as it is “capable of bearing several meanings and applying to many different types of behaviour” (Yemshaw, Par 27). While Lady Hale affirms the definition of domestic violence as described in the practice direction (2009) to include “physical violence, threatening or intimidating behaviour and any other form of abuse which, directly or indirectly, may give rise to the risk of harm” (Practice Direction, 2009), it firstly shows the emphasis of physical violence with less attention to the other forms. Secondly, it shows that these violent actions give rise to the term ‘abuse’, mainly because it is not a one-off incident. Third, domestic abuse cannot have a uniformly fixed definition because it could exclude other forms—often newly recognised— such as transactional marriage abandonment, which will be addressed later under the forms of domestic abuse.

Further, the introduction of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 was to make people aware of the negative impact that domestic abuse has on ‘victims and their families’ (Home Office, 2022). It also aims to ensure that proper protection is given to abuse victims by the justice system while their perpetrators/abusers face the wrath of justice. Section 1 of the Act defines domestic abuse as the abusive behaviour of an individual (the abuser) towards another individual (the victim or survivor) aged 16 years or over. An established relationship connects the two through marriage, partnership, intimacy, family, romance or parenthood (s2). This abuse also extends to children under 18 who have been affected by such and are related to either party (s3). The Act further elaborates what abusive behaviour consists of under S 1(3); “physical or sexual abuse, violent or threatening behaviour, controlling or coercive behaviour, economic abuse, psychological, emotional or other abuse”. This category provides an umbrella term of what constitutes abuse, and why each form must not be excluded as they all have a damaging effect on the victim. Knowing and understanding every form of abuse helps institutions and individuals to address them independently and collectively, especially in crises. For example, women who have been abused emotionally need counselling to help them get out of their trauma, while those who have been economically abused need support such as bailouts for the coerced debt accumulated.


Domestic abuse stems from the many years of inequality women have constantly faced (Women’s Aid, n.d.). Women and girls are the groups most affected by domestic abuse, its level of sensitivity and the painful experience that they face makes it difficult for most of them to address it (Roxana Necula, 2020). As a result, cases of abuse are still under-reported, and ways are needed to be found to trigger disclosure. Also, it is essential to implement tools that institutions such as the church, housing authorities and the workplace could use to identify women being abused or controlled by their perpetrators. 

The cost-of-living crisis has worsened many forms of abuse. Evidence indicates that, between 2021-22, there was the most drastic increase in domestic abuse ever recorded since 2004/05 (Grainne, 2022). However, some women who are subject to domestic abuse might not realise they are in that situation due to how invisible some of its forms are. Daniel Greenberg (2022) notes that people tend to recognise physical abuse the most, while they do not fully comprehend other forms of abuse that “require further explanation”, making it fundamental to understand all of its types.

  1. Physical or Sexual Abuse

Physical abuse is any form of physical harm inflicted on the victim, such as slapping or punching; it gives rise to the crime of battery (Offences Against the Person Act 1861; Anne & Ganley, 2008). Anne and Ganley (2008) highlight how physical abuse does not always lead to injuries. However, non-injuries must still be classified under this form of abuse because it leads to other harm, such as health issues. For example, it could affect a victim’s mental health as she would constantly worry about when the next event of abuse would occur, thus causing sleep deprivation, anxiety and even depression. 

Sexual abuse, on the other hand, comes under physical abuse. The abuser forces the victim to engage in sexual activities even without consent. Sometimes, it is not forced directly, but through coercion or manipulation into engaging, which could give rise to painful sex, injuring the victim (Anne and Ganley, 2008). This abuse also overlaps with other forms, such as psychological and emotional abuse, because the victim will most likely feel degraded and ill-treated. Others end up contracting Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) due to non-consensual engagement with third parties. Furthermore, crises such as Covid-19 have resulted in a drastic increase of physical abuse, and this can be first seen from the period of lockdown as some women were forced to stay at home with their abusers (Jamie, 2021). The cost-of-living crisis further illustrates how the pattern has continued to heighten throughout the years, and the need for institutions to do more to address the current situation. 

  1. Emotional or psychological abuse:

Emotional abuse involves the use of tactical control through verbal humiliation and attacks, constantly looking down on the self-worth of the victim. It is essential to note that in cases of emotional abuse, name calling or getting angry by cursing are not the only forms in which it is manifested by the abusers, as not all insults directed at a partner are acts of violence (Anne and Ganley, 2008). Verbal abuse is categorised as domestic abuse when it forms patterns of coercive behaviours that a perpetrator threatens or uses to inflict physical violence. For example, the abuser will verbally act on the victim’s credit worth or parenting style, bringing out the victim’s vulnerability (Anne and Ganley, 2008). Other forms of emotional abuse include possessiveness, leaving the victim in isolation from their friends and family, threatening to cause harm and any other action that would deeply trigger the victims’ emotions (United Nations, n.d.).

With psychological abuse, the perpetrator instils fear in the victim to the extent that she constantly feels intimidated, scared or anxious. It is much similar to emotional abuse. The abuser attacks the victim’s identity, which has an emotional and psychological effect. 

  1. Harassment and stalking

The abuser intentionally pursues the victim and creates this constant unwanted behavioural pattern that gets to them as they tend to feel afraid and terrorised due to stalking and harassment. The United Nations (UN) highlights behaviours like “repeated telephone calls, unwelcome letters or gifts by mail, surveillance at work, home and other places that the victim is known to frequent” (UN, n.d.).

  1. Online or digital abuse 

Sometimes, abusers use the digital space to exercise control towards their victims by accessing their accounts without consent or placing devices on the victim’s property to track their movements, including those they communicate with daily (Women Against Abuse, ND). 

  1.  Transactional marriage abandonment:

Transactional marriage abandonment occurs when the victim lives with a British or settled partner (the abuser in the case) in the UK, and then the abuser deliberately abandons the victim in another country, making it difficult for her to return to British soil. In this situation, the abandonment is done to stop her from accessing financial resources, gaining custody of the children and even hindering her access to “matrimonial or residence rights in England and Wales” (Thomson Reuters, 2023). It is a form of domestic abuse that has been recently classified as one (Bedfordshire Domestic Abuse Partnership, nd), as seen in s2b of the Practice Direction 12J 2017. However, it is yet to be expressly added in the Domestic Abuse Act, which shows how it has not yet received enough public recognition for awareness and prevention purposes. What brought attention to this form of abuse is the recent case of AM, R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (2022), where the victim was left stranded in Pakistan for eight months, away from her British child, abandoned by her abuser. The courts held that the Home Office discriminated against victims who would apply, under the immigration rules, for the Domestic Violence Indefinite Leave to Remain (DVILR). These sorts of cases were not included in the DVILR, and it was argued that their provisions were discriminatory towards victims of spousal abandonment. Therefore, the task of the Home Office is to create some amendments to the immigration rules to prevent an increase in transactional marriage abandonment. It is important to make more people  aware of this form of abuse, and carry out more research to have an in-depth understanding of it. However, the government must also be aware of the state abusers place on victims to force them out of the country, taking their concerns seriously. As seen in the case above,  the abuser threatened to harm the victim and her family if she did not travel with him to Pakistan, and even after the victim had expressed her fears to social services, they still went on the word of the abuser who insisted that the family would soon return to the UK (AM, par 8). Taking the word of the abuser also illustrates the deep-rooted pre-existing inequities such as gender bias. The landmark case of AM has come at a time when there is a profound need to raise more awareness on all forms of domestic abuse as a result of it worsening due to the cost-of-living crisis. 

  1. Economic or Financial Abuse

S1 (4) of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 defines economic abuse as any behaviour that could harm a person’s ability to access or even handle their “money, property, goods or services”. It is an exhibition of how women have been systematically exploited socially, politically and economically. It stems from inequality in the workplace, such as unequal pay, motherhood penalty, and sectoral segregation. Economic abuse has only been recently recognised as a form of abuse, per the Domestic Abuse Act 2021. It is a way in which a perpetrator (abuser) controls the victims’ financial resources by restricting, exploiting and sabotaging her “economic well-being” (Independent, 2020). Others even control their finances through identity theft, and this could leave the victim in severe financial distress to the extent that she (the victim) can no longer fend for herself. As a result, she either ends up relying on the abuser for financial support if she stays or on welfare benefits if she leaves; and if neither is available, then she runs the risk of unemployment and homelessness. The abuse also extends to controlling what products the victim uses, what to purchase and what not. A report by Women’s Aid (2022) highlights that the abusers control 66% of domestic abuse victims as they are using the excuse of the cost-of-living crisis to deny them access to finances while also keeping them in isolation. This highlights how the crisis has drastically increased economic abuse within homes. 

Coerced debt is the most common form of economic abuse perpetrators use towards their victims (Cabinet Office, 2023). Victims are compelled to use all their finances and borrow money from banks and other credit institutions, trapping them in severe debt and leaving them to repay these debts. One of the victims of domestic abuse explained how financial abuse was used against her as follows:

 “…One of the elements of abuse he used against me was financial. Alongside the physical and emotional abuse, the economic abuse had a big impact when it came to leaving; he controlled everything. His name was on the house; I was completely reliant on him financially; it was so hard. He’d made it so, I didn’t have work, a social life, he never paid child maintenance, and I was left in a lot of debt from him. I was completely isolated….it impacts you emotionally and physically.” (Refugee, 2022).

She also stated how it would have been extremely challenging to leave her abuser had this cost-of-living crisis occurred prior to the time she decided to leave him. This further highlights the crisis’s impact on women who are being abused economically. 

Furthermore, coerced debt is one aspect of financial abuse that must be thoroughly investigated and adequately tackled as victims still end up indebted for many years, even after they have left their abusers (post-separation abuse), due to its invisibility. This can have a long-term mental health effect in addition to the said financial burden on them. Unfortunately for the victims, the abusers end up scot-free as they “profit from the debt- maintaining comfortable lifestyles and living a debt-free lifestyle” (Independent, 2022). Understanding this form of abuse opens doors to create policies and strategies to tackle it. 

  1. Post-Separation abuse.

It is assumed that once a victim leaves her abuser, she will be free from such abuse as she works towards recovering. However, some victims of domestic abuse do not realise that even after separation the abuse could persist. Statistics indicate that 90% of women separated from their abusive partners tend to report certain forms of abuse, such as harassment (Davies et al., 2009). Spearman et al. (2022) define post-separation abuse as an “ongoing, willful pattern of intimidation of a former intimate partner including legal abuse, economic abuse, threats and endangerment to children, isolation and discrediting and harassment and stalking.” This form of abuse appears multifaceted: it consists of almost all other forms of abuse appearing simultaneously even after leaving the abuser. This could further affect the well-being of the victim, hence also affecting their financial situation. It is also seen to be triggered by the dominant patriarchal society that we live in (Spearman et al., 2022), stemming from inequalities such as the gender pay gap, which indicates men as having higher economic power. There is a need for more data to measure the level of impacts of post-separation abuse to understand it further and address it adequately, as it could affect more women during this cost of living crisis, in addition to other forms they might be subjected to such as economic abuse. 


“When women have access to productive resources, and they enjoy social and economic rights, they are less vulnerable to violence across all societies” (Jacqui True, 2012). 

By definition, crisis has ambiguous terms, making it challenging to pinpoint what it exactly means. However, its ambiguity allows societies to define it according to the factors, causes and impact level of such threatening events. It can be “conceptualised as both structurally recurring and utterly unique” (Koselleck and Richter, 2006). The current cost of living crisis is an example of a dangerous event that results from a chain of unfortunate previous occurrences, further impacting the economy and gradually building up to finally creating an economic catastrophe. Just as the world economy was starting to recover from the impacts of Covid-19, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine created further detrimental economic consequences worldwide (Nolan, 2023). From the drastic increase of energy prices to disruptions in the supply chains,  this event has led to “Precarious inflationary surges” (Nolan, 2023), worsening the cost of living crisis.

This crisis has also revealed the extent of social damage that has, for centuries, been embedded within our societies. At a community level, it has led to a drastic increase in the prices of an individual’s basic needs, such as shelter and food, thus, leading to poverty and suffering (Nolan, 2023). Furthermore, it has revealed the dangers that victims of domestic abuse have faced and are still facing (due to it).  According to some charities, such as Refugee (2022), victims of domestic abuse lacking financial resources confront impossible and devastating choices. 73% of victims are afraid to leave their abusers due to the financial uncertainties of the current crisis, while 96% of them state the abuse has worsened (Hughes, 2022). Hence, the victims’ choices are exacerbated by the current cost of living crisis that pushes them to decide between staying with their abusers out of fear of being unable to provide for their children and pay bills, or risk living in poor or unstable conditions once they finally leave. These surveys indicate that this situation is becoming a national emergency for domestic abuse victims as they are deciding less to leave their perpetrators and could lead to more damage. 

Additionally, this crisis has led to a drastic increase in economic and psychological abuse. Some abusers are making it challenging for their partners to have access to adequate food and heating, taking advantage of the unstable financial position that the victims that have chosen to stay are in. Others attempt “to gain custody of the children” (post-separation abuse) (Refuge, 2022). One of the victims expressed the challenges that have come with the crisis, stating the difficulties “for survivors to speak out in the first place without having the barrier of the cost-of-living crisis; my perpetrator would whisper in my ear ‘you won’t cope without me” (Refugee, 2022). This shows how the state and organisations need to find ways to allow women to speak up as their vulnerability limits them from doing so. If there were more efficient and gender-favourable economic reforms to support women who earn a low income or even those who are unpaid workers, they would have financial freedom to leave. Other women need to be educated about the different forms of domestic abuse because not all realise they are being abused, as some forms tend to have invisible factors, as previously stated.

This crisis also shows the breach of an individual’s social and economic rights (Nolan, 2023). Steiner, Alston and Goodman (2007) highlight how the abuse of human rights towards women has a strong link to their social and economic positions and how the ones mainly affected “often lack the favour or protection of the state and their communities to further their basic needs and interests” (p.178). This has been accurately revealed by the current cost of living crisis:  the previous example of the survivor speaking out indicates how their financial vulnerability has forced them towards having to make an unfortunate decision between either staying with their abusers despite the risks that come with it or suffering the consequences of leaving through financial difficulties. It has also threatened the benefits of social security due to individuals’ needs outweighing the budget. Nolan (2023) highlights how this could equally lead to a breach of the right to social security under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR, 1966) as ratified by the UK in 1976. The treaty ensures that states must promote the rights of citizens, such as an “adequate standard of living”. The last time the ICESCR examined how the UK is implementing these social and economic rights was in June 2016 (Equality and Human Rights Commission, 2018), meaning that there is a need to carry out up-to-date investigations to know whether the UK has incorporated those rights to attend to the current cost of living crisis. Examining reports is essential because it is “more substantive” as it is carried out through intensive questioning by representatives from different states (Camp, 1999).

Moreover, the only issue that the ICESCR has addressed regarding domestic abuse is access to justice. Other economic impacts towards abuse victims, such as housing policies, have not been thoroughly discussed. Furthermore, the UK Government made a 2023 submission to the committee on economic, social and cultural rights (a treaty body that monitors the implementation of ICESCR), stating their compliance with the ICESCR. However, the Human Rights Watch (2023) criticised their submissions, arguing that individuals’ protection of their social/economic rights have not been wholly incorporated into domestic law. Without the possibility of individuals accessing legal remedies for violation of their social or economic rights, their situation will continue to worsen due to the lack of state protection, thus worsening their status during the cost of living crisis. 

Victims of domestic abuse have been deeply affected by the breach of these social and economic rights due to certain policy measures that were thought to tackle the crisis or solve certain problems, yet, they weakened the level of protection towards them. Firstly, addressing the historical lag of the government’s social, political and economic choices is one way to tackle the current cost of living crisis. Creating more and more policy reforms is not enough without addressing the root cause of the problem. Easterly (2016) talks about how persuasive technocratic interventions appear, yet they only provide short-term solutions to long-term problems, creating an imbalance that could probably worsen a crisis. Social protection systems have been reduced, thoroughly affecting domestic abuse victims. The government has made more public spending cuts during the cost of living crisis, and Oxfam (2022) highlights how this is also a “form of gender-based violence”. The justification of austerity measures stems from the government introducing them in 2008 – responding to the impact of the financial crisis (Kelsey et al., 2015). In 2010, the conservative government mentioned how these measures were “temporary, necessary and purely practical” (Mendoza, 2015), yet they are still in current operation and seem to be instead permanent, non-essential and primarily theoretical. Mendoza (2015) highlights how the government’s evidence on how austerity measures could quickly grow the economy through debt reduction by cutting public spending was largely unfounded. The statistics of such evidence were inaccurate due to data omissions and the complete reliance on an Excel spreadsheet (Mendoza, 2015, p.80). The predictions of the UK’s growth rate under this austerity justification are not the current result, as it has done the exact opposite: slowed down the economy’s growth rate. All these actions were taken due to the financial crisis, and instead of the banks and private institutions taking account for the risks caused by their actions, citizens and taxpayers suffered the consequences via austerity policies, causing even more injustice.

Further, the ICESCR’s 2018 report noted that the UK government has not provided evidence to back up its justifications for the fairness of their “tax, policy and legal reforms since 2010” (Equality and Human Rights Commission, 2018). It is quite alarming that “corporation tax is lower today than any time in its history” (Mendoza, 2015, p.81), and the money that would have been spent on public services has been paid for to corporations who receive tax cuts and subsidies, yet, millions of people are suffering due to the same public spending cuts. Worse, domestic abuse victims are left out to dry as these measures have affected the availability of public housing, including limited legal aid services. 

Additionally, the UK’s provision of Legal aid is one of the most comprehensive systems worldwide (Higgins, 2017), yet it has been dramatically compromised through further cuts due to the introduction of the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO, 2012). LASPO came into force in 2013 to create a civil justice system that prevents the misuse of public funds and excessive reliance on adversarial litigation by assisting only the most vulnerable to access the courts through legal aid provisions (Smith Roger, 1996). However, instead of helping out victims,  LASPO has restricted access to justice for them due to its excessive legal aid cuts and limited access to legal representatives (Organ and Sigafoos, 2018). Access to justice can be defined as an individual’s right to receive legal protection from the courts, and it is seen as an indispensable mechanism to convict abusers, ensure victims are safe, and prevent re-victimisation (Sorabji, 2015; UNDP, 2022). Lord Woolf pointed out how preserving access to justice for all the ‘users of the system’ through an equal distribution of resources is fundamental within societies (Sorabji, 2015). However, the legal aid cuts have disproportionately impacted low-income individuals and victims who need help from the courts because they do not have the resources to access the system, and this makes it unsustainable (The Law Society, 2023; Lady Hale, 2019). Lord Wilson acknowledged the government’s need to sustain the UK’s economic policies by dismantling legal aid; however, he went on to express that, as a result, “access to justice is under a threat in the UK” (Wilson, 2018). Therefore, in as much as the state’s justification of the legal aid cuts is to create economic sustainability, it will lead to injustice towards those who rely on this system for help, especially on victims who need protection against their abusers.

One justification for the cuts is the huge number of people that sought legal aid, placing a strain on the budgeting system, hence leading to a ‘national fiscal deficit’ (Organ and Sigafoos, 2018) that resulted in the cut of £350m from £2bn (Heung, 2017). If a need to attend to the national deficit and public spending truly affects the economy’s stability, then expecting an increase in public funding might seem quite unrealistic (Richard Lewis, 2011). If this is the case, other measures must be taken to promote access to justice. To obtain the right of access to the courts, Higgins (2017) highlights that other than individualised justice, compatible distributive justice must be considered, pointing out its two levels. One is whether it is fair to tax or allocate the burden of legal aid funding to individuals who are neither eligible for legal aid nor private legal services for the benefit of the vulnerable, as taxpayers indirectly fund the justice system. However, neither is eligible for legal aid and private legal funding. Another is whether there are alternative ways, other than legal aid, to assist the vulnerable, since this would not place a heavy burden on taxpayers. For example, by assisting them to individually create their income, such as by introducing economic empowerment schemes. Furthermore, after a victim has created income from the said capital, she could also help other victims, leading to a positive ripple effect.

Secondly, the housing system has proven inefficient and discriminatory towards the victims who left their abusers. The government has abolished specific housing policies that were unfavourable for victims, such as the bedroom tax, after cases like A. v. the United Kingdom (2020) were taken to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). However, certain other policies are still proving to be quite challenging. The council told some victims that they were not “high-risk victims” (Sky News, 2022) and were placed in horrific living conditions, with some houses being infested with ants, windowless rooms in other places, and others having broken fixtures and fittings. The case of Yemshaw (2011), as mentioned at the beginning of this paper, illustrates how the housing act had limited the definition of violence, which limited the inclusion of other forms of violence asides from physical. This already indicates certain housing policy flaws towards women subject to domestic abuse. The policies do not seem gender inclusive, and some “place people who are a protected characteristic at a group disadvantage”, also called indirect discrimination (Equality Act 2010), despite some of these policies being neutral. However, neutrality is not enough to justify certain decisions, and policy decisions must go beyond it.

The recent case of TX v Adur District Council (2022) is another example of the unfairness of some housing policies. A victim who escaped abuse was indirectly discriminated against by the local authority due to the unfair allocation policies they had implemented. She had applied for housing at a local authority outside her area, where her mum lived. According to the policy, the victim was categorised under the “lower priority band”, which means she has a lower probability of securing housing. In another recent case of R (Montero) v Lewisham London Borough Council (2021), the council refused to provide housing for a victim and her children who were previously in an overcrowded housing space because she did not meet the standards for the allocation policy which needed her to be resident of the area “for a period of five years”. However, the policy also indicated that this would be reversed if the case circumstances were exceptional, and the council did not find her situation exceptional, nor did they impose reasonable preference under s166A of the Housing Act (1996). Even though the courts dismissed this claim, the case illustrates how legislation needs to explain what it means by exceptional circumstances adequately. The courts also held that the decision was up to the local authorities to provide what situation could give rise to reasonable preference as the Act has no specific rules of what constitutes reasonable preference or not. These are a few examples of the many cases which indicate how the housing system tends to disadvantage several abuse victims. They do not seem to exclude victims intentionally, but some of the stringent policies that they put in place make it difficult for abuse victims to get access to housing despite need and urgency. Policymakers and the legislature must be more gender-sensitive when creating policies. They must also not be vague as to leave specific policies hard to understand regarding their requirements as clarity will prevent victims from seeking access to the courts, therefore reducing the number of individuals relying on legal aid. Neutrality is not enough to justify certain decisions, and this goes beyond neutrality.

Nevertheless, there is an issue of limited availability of council houses, and one solution to address this problem could be to restrict housing privatisation. Privatisation means the transfer of government-owned property to private ownership. This limits the government’s economic influence in specific areas, thus, decreasing state regulation (Ola, 1993). It can appear as a problem for domestic abuse victims because private homeowners have control of the rent they charge their tenants, while cheaper council houses that victims could afford are scarce, and if available, then most likely unstable. Mendoza (2015) talks about how the reduction of council housing resulting from privatisation has seen these houses ration out “to the poorest of the poor, rather than offered as a service that most can rely on to keep the cost of living within sensible bounds” (Mendoza, p.59). The strain that the government has on the housing system is not because there are too many people seeking housing benefits out of nowhere; it is because the privatisation of millions of houses has led to higher costs that are mostly unaffordable; hence, more people seek benefits. Worse, a victim who has just suffered from abuse, has left her home with her children, is earning a low wage and is going through the trauma of the abuse will not be able to afford the high private living costs. Victims must not be blamed for the fault of past government policies.  


Though meant to be non-existent, domestic abuse has continuously heightened in the past few years in the UK. It comes in several forms such as psychological, financial and physical, and there are other forms such as transnational marriage abandonment that are still yet to be widely known. Hence, it is essential to create awareness on the different forms of abuse in order to find ways to tackle them individually and collectively. The current cost of living crisis has further worsened the level of abuse, endangering the lives of victims as they run the risk of staying with their abusers due to the drastic decrease in their financial circumstances. The increased inflation rates have led to higher market costs, including high rentals in the housing sector. As a result, victims might not have the means to leave their abusers. The victims that eventually leave, however, face strict statutes and policies, such as those seen in housing, which tend to disadvantage them. Some victims can get remedies from their situations by accessing the legal system, so if Acts like LASPO prevent them from seeking such justice, then it would leave victims in worse conditions as the courts will no longer be available to protect them. However, if relying on LASPO is insufficient, other alternatives to assist the vulnerable need to be explored. The result of the cost of living crisis also highlights how victims’ social and economic rights to adequate standards of living, access to justice and their rights to social protection systems under the ICESCR are at risk of a breach because of the economic challenges that women are facing. These problems are also seen to stem from historical gender disadvantages that capitalism and inaccurate austerity decisions meant for ‘economic growth’ have brought forth. International law, such as the ECHR, can protect domestic abuse victims, but treaties like the ICESCR need to apply more pressure so that the UK finally incorporates certain social and economic rights in domestic law. However, this is quite a blurry area that needs more in-depth research, primarily to address the social and economic rights of a victim of domestic abuse in the UK, especially during a crisis. The bodies of the state, namely the legislature, executive and judiciary, play a fundamental role in assisting victims of domestic abuse. They must constantly work together to ensure that victims are treated fairly and have access to assistance to separate them from their abusers.


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