Barrie shelter raising concerns over inflation’s impact on women living with abuse

A woman works at home during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in The Netherlands, on January 29, 2021. Robin Utrecht/ABACAPRESS.COM

The Barrie Women and Children’s Shelter says inflation and the higher cost of living are making it harder for women in abusive relationships to leave their abuser.

November is Women Abuse Prevention Month, with the shelter holding several events focused on showing women trying to leave an abusive situation they are not alone.

“We are seeing more women who are really struggling because they might be living with their abusive partner, but because of inflation, there’s no safe and affordable housing,” said Teresa MacLennan, executive director of the shelter.

“Their income is really, really stretched. They cannot afford financially to leave their abusive partner.”

MacLennan said more women are wrestling with leaving abusive situations because they need to support themselves and their children with food, safe housing, and navigating the legal process.

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In October, gasoline prices were 9.2 per cent high than the month before, while food prices were up 10.1 per cent, she said.

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“We have inflation. We have huge gas prices. We have huge food costs. There is such a lack of safe and affordable housing – the barriers have only increased,” MacLennan said.

“If it was really, really difficult four years ago, it is three times as bad now for women to think about how they could possibly leave.”

Click to play video: 'Concerns over impact of inflation on domestic violence victims'
Concerns over impact of inflation on domestic violence victims

The Barrie Food Bank told Global News they supported 3,500 individuals in October, up from 3,000 in August.

The food bank saw 543 families in October, up 49 per cent from one year prior.

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MacLennan said it’s vital that women know, despite the added pressure, there is help available during this time.

“We will help knock those barriers down and help her find affordable and safe housing. We will help her to see herself and her family. We will help her to navigate how she pays the bills because we want to decrease those barriers so that women have hope and that women can believe that they will have success.”

Those in need of support can reach the Barrie Women and Children’s Shelter’s Crisis Line at 705-728-2544 or Toll-Free at 1-800-461-1716.

– with files from Global News’ Craig Lord

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