Economic Abuse in a Pandemic

17 November, 2020
by: Cripps Pemberton Greenish

A recent report published by the Co-operative Bank and Refuge has identified that 39%
(20 million people) of UK adults have experienced economic abuse either in their current or a previous relationship.  Interestingly only 16%, 8.7 million people, recognized that this behavior was abusive. 3%, 1.5 million adults saw this abuse start during the coronavirus pandemic.  Greater financial uncertainty with the onset of the furlough scheme, together with the looming threat of redundancies and a recession have likely fueled this.

When considering domestic abuse, the first thought is often that this is physical violence, that someone is being hurt physically, or dealing with harassing behavior such as threats and similar psychological harm.  The new Domestic Abuse Bill, currently before parliament, attempts to set out a comprehensive list of what constitutes domestic abuse, and it includes financial or economic control.

Economic abuse occurs when someone attempts to control another’s ability to acquire, maintain access to, or use money or other economic resources in a sustained manner.  This includes things like stopping someone from working, taking their money, preventing someone from accessing their own or joint bank accounts, or putting debts in their name.  Economic abuse can make it very difficult for someone to leave a relationship as they may not have the money to fund the practicalities of such a move, and don’t have the financial details of the relationship that they will need on divorce. 

As the statistics above show, many people experiencing economic abuse don’t recognize it as abuse.  The new Domestic Abuse Bill aims to change that, and here at Cripps Pemberton Greenish we are experienced in identifying where abuse has occurred.  We can discuss with you what steps need to be taken including personal protection as well as preserving assets and ensuring that your partner discloses their financial circumstances in full.  We can also help you to obtain funds to pay your ongoing living costs during your separation and also ensure that your legal fees are paid. 

If you would like further information or advice on economic abuse, or any other form of domestic abuse, then please contact Claire Tollefson on 01892 506191 or Claire.tollefson@crippspg.co.uk.