Economic abuse is a hidden form of domestic violence that targets individuals' financial independence and autonomy, often leaving them trapped in abusive relationships. It involves controlling and manipulating the economic resources of a victim, thereby undermining their financial security and restricting their freedom to make independent decisions. Recognising economic abuse as a distinct form of abuse is crucial in addressing the multifaceted nature of domestic violence and ensuring comprehensive support for survivors. In this article, we will explore the concept of economic abuse, its impact on victims, and the steps needed to combat this insidious form of abuse.

Defining Economic Abuse

Economic abuse encompasses a range of behaviours aimed at exploiting and controlling a victim's financial resources, thereby exerting power and control over them. It involves tactics such as restricting access to money, denying employment or education opportunities, sabotaging job prospects, coercing debt, stealing or controlling assets, and imposing financial dependency. These tactics erode a survivor's economic well-being, making it difficult for them to escape the abusive relationship and regain financial independence.

Recognising the Signs and Impact

Economic abuse often operates alongside other forms of abuse, making it challenging to identify and address. However, understanding its signs is crucial for early intervention and support. Some common indicators of economic abuse include:

  • Controlling the finances: The abuser maintains sole control over bank accounts, credit cards, and financial decisions, denying the survivor access to money or financial information.
  • Employment sabotage: The abuser may prevent the survivor from working, undermine their job prospects, or force them to quit their job, leaving them financially dependent.
  • Forced debt or economic sabotage: The abuser may accumulate debt in the survivor's name, manipulate credit ratings, or sabotage financial stability, causing long-term financial repercussions.
  • Asset control: The abuser may control or deny access to property, vehicles, or other valuable assets, further limiting the survivor's financial options.
  • Isolation from financial resources: The abuser isolates the survivor from support networks, making it difficult to seek assistance or access resources that promote financial independence.

The impact of economic abuse extends beyond the immediate financial realm. Survivors often experience profound psychological, emotional, and physical effects, including increased stress, anxiety, depression, and a sense of helplessness. Economic abuse can hinder survivors' ability to leave an abusive relationship and rebuild their lives, perpetuating a cycle of control and dependency.

Economic abuse is a form of domestic violence that devastates the financial security and independence of survivors.

If you are experiencing any kind of domestic abuse and live in South Tyneside – please call us in confidence on 07375 788 835 (opening hours Mon-Fri 9am-5pm), or email us at [email protected]