A DOMESTIC abuse survivor says she has been forced to give up studying nursing over the rise of the cost of living.

Chantelle McCafferty said she fled an unsafe relationship to stay in a women's shelter last year but has been struggling to get back on her feet ever since.

It comes as household bills have skyrocketed after Ofgem increased the energy fuel cap by a whopping 54%.

The 24-year-old, from Glasgow, had been in her final year of nursing at UWS in Paisley but couldn’t afford to be a student after leaving her relationship.

It meant she had to pull out and get a job in a cafe full-time to support herself and tackle her debt, in one of the worst economic crises since the 1970s.

Glasgow Times: Chantelle loves her dog LaylaChantelle loves her dog Layla

Chantelle had hoped to get her own council flat within six months but now expects it could take around one year before she can leave the women’s shelter due to high demand.

This meant she had to put her beloved dog Layla into foster care before a pal agreed to take her, as dogs are not allowed in the refuge.

Chantelle has shared her experience with the Glasgow Times as part of our Beat the Squeeze campaign, which is highlighting the pressing issues affecting people's living standards.

She said: “It has been a nightmare for me, I just want to get back on my feet but the cost of living is so hard right now.

“I left a bad relationship and moved into a women’s shelter and have been struggling to get my own council house. I had to give up studying nursing as well as I can’t afford to be a student.

“I also had to give up my dog as they don’t let you have them in the support accommodation. She is staying with a friend now but I miss her so much.

“If I got my own place I could get my dog back and start my life again but it is just too expensive with prices for everything going up.

“I am a full-time worker. I was trying to do all the right things and go to university after school and make good choices but I have ended up in this situation.

“I've never broken any laws and always been a good member of society. How can I be in this place? It's ridiculous.

“It’s a real struggle, I should be on the right path but my circumstances have got me here worrying about food and bills.”

Glasgow Times: Chantelle hopes to get her own flat soonChantelle hopes to get her own flat soon

Chantelle left her relationship in December 2021 after a family member became concerned and helped her flee.

She was helped by Women’s Aid who put her into a flat which allows just one allocated named visitor for privacy and safety reasons.

Chantelle is now hoping to start a new job which will allow her to tackle her debt and save up to move out and get her dog back.

She also hopes to return to university one day to complete her nursing degree.

It comes as Police Scotland recorded 65,251 incidents of domestic abuse in 2020-21, an increase of 4% compared to the previous year.

This is the fifth year in a row this figure has shown an increase.

The definition of domestic abuse used by Police Scotland states: “Any form of physical, verbal, sexual, psychological or financial abuse which might amount to criminal conduct and which takes place within the context of a relationship.”

Glasgow Times: Chantelle is trying to get back on her feetChantelle is trying to get back on her feet

The relationship can be between partners (married, cohabiting, civil partnership or otherwise) or ex-partners.

The abuse can be committed in the home or elsewhere including online.

End Violence Against Women said: “We are alarmed by what these increasingly challenging economic conditions will mean for women and girls, with very little offered for those on the sharpest edge of the cost-of-living crisis.

“Gender inequality, including wider economic inequality, is both a cause and consequence of violence against women.

“We are concerned that the Government’s proposals will widen, rather than reduce, the existing income inequalities faced by black and minoritised, migrant and disabled women, who are already at heightened risk of gender-based violence.”



They added: “At the same time, under-funded frontline services for victims and survivors of gender-based violence are already struggling to meet demand for support, which soared during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This leaves us with a dangerous and alarming double whammy of rising poverty and over-subscribed life-saving support services.”

If you are worried about yourself or someone you know regarding domestic abuse, contact Women’s Aid for help.

You can reach them at helpline@womensaid.org.uk or head over to their website for more information at womensaid.org.uk.