Divorce rates reach 50-year low amid cost of living crisis, sparking concern for domestic violence victims

The rate of divorce in England and Wales has reached a new low. (Stock image/Getty)

According to data, the number of married couples applying for divorce in England and Wales has reached the lowest point in 50 years. 

There were 80,057 divorces granted across the two countries in 2022, according to the Office for National Statistics. This marks the lowest number of divorces since 1971.

The rate of divorce has decreased by over a quarter (29.5%) compared to the rate in 2021, when 113,505 divorces were granted. 

The cost of living crisis has been cited as a potential factor behind the stark decrease in divorce rates, sparking concern for LGBTQ+ domestic violence victims who may be unable to flee abusive situations due to financial reasons. 

A spokesperson at LGBTQ+ anti-abuse charity Galop tells PinkNews that the cost of living crisis “has dramatically reduced the number of options available for LGBTQ+ people trying to flee domestic abuse”. 

“In our services, we hear from many survivors of abuse who have been faced with the difficult decision to either remain in unsafe, abusive living situations or become homeless,” says Director of Services Ruth Mason.

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“We also hear from survivors who have fled abuse but were forced to return to their perpetrators because they couldn’t support themselves financially.

“LGBT+ survivors are likely to have fewer economic resources available to safely flee abuse or to be able to afford the many costs associated with seeking safety, such as deposits and rent for private accommodation or social housing,” Mason continues. 

Specialised, safe emergency accommodation for LGBTQ+ people is limited in the UK, particularly outside the UK’s major queer cities. The majority of LGBTQ+ survivors (81%) experienced abuse outside of these areas, where there aren’t so many specialised services.

“Trans+ and non-binary survivors face even more barriers to accessing safe services with high numbers of trans+ and non-binary people telling Galop that mainstream services are not safe or accessible to them,” Mason adds.

Between April and June 2023, Galop experienced a record-breaking 718% increase in spending from our Emergency Client Fund, compared with the same period the previous year. This Emergency fund goes towards providing survivors with money for food, clothing, transport, and emergency housing.

“We need to urgently increase the amount of specialist LGBT+ refuge, advocacy and therapeutic services across the UK in order to ensure that no LGBT+ victim of abuse has to choose between staying in an abusive situation or becoming homeless,” Mason concluded.

To donate towards Galop’s essential services of abuse and violence, visit the site here.

If this story has affected you, call the National Helpline for LGBTQ+ Victims and Survivors of Abuse and Violence on 0800 999 5428 Monday-Thursday 10 am-4.30 pm and on Fridays 10 am-4.00 pm.