On the receiving end: How post can enable domestic abuse
Survivors of domestic abuse face significant harm because their post isn’t secure and their address is regularly disclosed. Our research found that half of survivors of domestic abuse have their post intercepted by the perpetrator.
Survivors we spoke to missed out on cancer treatments, faced thousands of pounds of debt from unpaid bills, and lost touch with their support networks as a result of perpetrators hiding their letters.
Perpetrators also use information they find in survivors’ letters to discredit them to certain services, to financially abuse them, and to control and monitor their movements.
When survivors leave the home where they experienced abuse, they often need to keep their whereabouts secret. However, 40% of survivors who’ve left the home have had an agency disclose their new address to the perpetrator.
This puts their safety at significant risk and leads survivors to avoid engaging with services for fear of giving out their address.
Survivors have lost £7.1 billion in the last 10 years as a result of perpetrators intercepting their post.
Survivors miss appointments with essential services because perpetrators hide their letters. And 1 in 2 survivors who have left the home avoid engaging with a service because they don’t want to give out their address.
71% of survivors who had their new address disclosed by an agency said their safety was compromised as a result.
Over half felt stressed or anxious as a result of having their post intercepted.
The government should invest in an ‘Address & Collect’ service, provided at post offices, to ensure people in unsafe or untraditional living situations have equal access to post.
The Information Commissioner's Office should investigate the significant number of data breaches, highlighted by this research, that put survivors of domestic abuse at serious risk.