The impact of the cost of living crisis on women survivors of sexual violence in Oxfordshire

Date Posted: Thursday 25th April 2024

A joint paper with Oxfordshire Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Centre (OSARCC)

cost of livingLocal GovernmentSocial SecurityViolence Against Women And Girls

This report highlights the matrix between factors increasing women’s vulnerability to poverty in the cost of living crisis, and women’s vulnerability to sexual and gender-based violence. Violence against women is an endemic problem in the UK: 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence or abuse during her lifetime and more than 1 in 4 women will experience sexual violence. The cost of living crisis has been disastrous for these women. Not only does the increased cost of living offer some perpetrators increased control over victims through financial abuse – the charity Surviving Economic Abuse (SEA) found that 67% of domestic abuse victims were in negative budgets – but many of the organisations that would support victims are themselves dealing with spiralling running costs and a crisis in funding. This report explores some of the strategies and challenges shared by women survivors in one part of the UK – the south-eastern county of Oxfordshire.

In early 2023 The UK Women’s Budget Group (WBG) was awarded a grant by Smallwood Trust and Sisters Trust, to be shared with a local women’s organisation for the purpose of establishing a partnership to work on a mixed methods research project. The organisation, selected by WBG, was Oxfordshire Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Centre (OSARCC). OSARCC’s aim was to capture and analyse the specific ways in which women living in Oxfordshire with lived experience of domestic violence and/or sexual abuse are impacted by the cost of living crisis. This report sets out the findings of this research project along with providing key policy recommendations and actions for Government.