The cost-of-living crisis is affecting households across Britain, but in homes where there is an abuser, the added strain on the family can have terrible consequences.
According to research from Women’s Aid, the ongoing cost-of-living crisis is already stopping victims from leaving an abusive relationship. Domestic abuse victims are choosing to live with the trauma of abuse rather than deal with the worry of covering bills and paying for food. An increase in economic abuse is also being reported. According to Women’s Aid, two thirds (66%) of victims have reported that their abusers are using the rising prices as a tool for coercive control.
Surviving Economic Abuse (SEA) are the UK’s only charity that are specifically dedicated to helping victims through financial abuse. The charity defines economic abuse as the restriction, sabotage, or exploitation of economic resources. For example, refusing access to a bank account, dictating what their partner can buy, or checking receipts. An abuser will us financial control as a means of exerting power over and instilling fear in their partner. It is also common for abusers to accumulate debt in the name of their partner, often through utility bills or failure to make mortgage payments. This means that long after the relationship has ended, the victim can be left paying off debts and rebuilding their credit score which has been damaged by their abusive partner.
The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 now identifies economic abuse and coercive control as forms of domestic abuse. Abuse like this can be exerted in any household, not just those on low incomes. It’s another excuse for an abuser to assert dominance and control.
If you are concerned that someone is financially abusing you, or you are worried for a relative or friend, the Money Advice Service, and charities such as Solace, Women’s Aid, and Surviving Economic Abuse might be able to help you.
If you are ready to break free from a financially abusive partner and you want some advice about where to start and what you to do, at Townsend Family Law, our compassionate team are there to help you. We can be your voice if you are too frightened or intimidated to deal with your ex-partner alone. Please feel free to contact us on 01992 892214 to book in a reduced rate consultation.