Woman’s Trust calls for national debate on the impact of domestic abuse on women’s mental health

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womans trust our people sally field 300x300 Womans Trust calls for national debate on the impact of domestic abuse on womens mental health

In a letter to MPs ahead of a debate on women’s mental health in the House of Commons, our Chair, Sally Field, said:

“The time for a national conversation on the impact of domestic abuse on mental health is long overdue.”

At Woman’s Trust, we’re well placed to comment on the issue, having provided the equivalent of over £6m in free mental health care since 1996.

Every year we help hundreds of women by providing free one-to-one counselling and group therapy ; which are tailored to the specific needs of people who have been in abusive relationships.

Over the last 20 years, we have:

  • supported over 14,000 women
  • provided over 40,000 hours of free counselling
  • delivered more than 13,300 hours of free group therapy

The economic impact

In a report published earlier this year, the Home Office estimated the cost of domestic abuse to survivors living in England and Wales was around £66 billion for the year ending March 2017, alone. It said the biggest component (£47 billion) was attributable to “physical and emotional harms incurred by victims, particularly the emotional harms (the fear, anxiety and depression experienced by victims as a result of domestic abuse).”

Sally continues: “Mental health and domestic abuse are inextricably linked. Domestic abuse is the single largest cause of depression in UK women. Through our own work, we know that many women who have been in abusive relationships experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); are prone to addiction and substance misuse; and are more likely to contemplate suicide.

“We believe the debate is the perfect opportunity to highlight the association between domestic abuse and women’s mental health. Otherwise, survivors will continue to be let down by policy and regulation which fails to connect the dots between domestic abuse and the impact it has on psychological and emotional wellbeing.

“Further, we need a national strategy to address the gaps in policy and funding. Charities like ours provide free mental health support to hundreds of women every year – and while the demand for our services continues to grow, sustained cuts to statutory funding mean ever-increasing competition for resources.”


For media enquiries or requests for interview, please contact our Trustee, Nadia Mahmud, on: trustee@womanstrust.org.uk


Notes to editors