An increasing number of LGBTQ+ victims of abuse are staying with their abusers due to economic hardship caused by the cost of living crisis.

Content warning: This story may include topics that could make some readers feel uncomfortable.

New figures from Galop, the UK’s leading LGBTQ+ anti-abuse charity, found that 100% of its frontline staff reported that unaffordable housing costs and limited access to specialist LGBTQ+ safe spaces are putting survivors of abuse at increased risk of harm.

Members of the community face additional barriers in finding safe accommodation due to risks of discrimination, with waiting lists for inclusive places being incredibly long.

LGBTQ+ survivors are therefore being forced to choose between staying in potentially dangerous housing, homelessness or remaining with their abusers, Galop has warned.

“Survivors are returning to perpetrators because they are unable to support themselves financially,” explained one of its frontline workers.

Amy Roch, Deputy CEO of the charity, added: “We see the hidden realities of the cost-of-living crisis every day in our work with LGBT+ survivors.

“Our clients are having to weigh up every essential cost; from a bus ticket to travel to a sexual assault center to the cost of a night in a hostel.”

Galop has recorded a staggering 227% increase in the use of its emergency fund, which helps support survivors with resources like food, transport and clothing, from the same two-month period last year.

It also highlighted the issues transgender and non-binary people face in accessing mainstream services, which often operate within the gender binary and may exclude them entirely.

To donate towards Galop’s essential services for LGBTQ+ survivors of abuse and violence, click here.