SEA is proud to launch ‘A Year in Review’ achieving much more than could have been envisioned in our first twelve months. The charity is beginning to pave the way for policy and practice change and is working to ensure that the concept of economic abuse is more widely recognised and better understood.
SEA media work has reached more than 23 million people with appearances on BBC Breakfast and Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and also contributions to You Magazine. Our increased profile has enabled the formation of the Survivor Reference Group. The members are women who have experienced economic abuse and who want to share their expertise and knowledge. They are working to develop useful resources for women to access via our newly launched website.
We recognise that it is vital for professionals across a range of sectors to increase their knowledge, skills and confidence in responding to economic abuse and we are proud to be taking a lead in making this happen. Though we are a newly formed charity, we have already won a three year grant from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to deliver our ‘Economic Justice Project’. This will connect domestic violence services with consumer credit lawyers to challenge debts which women have been coerced into taking out by their abusive partners.
We are also speaking about economic abuse at seminars and conferences. We have learned from international expertise and convened the first meeting of a national working group on economic abuse in December last year.
Our work has identified the need for policy to change. We are contributing to the development of an industry standard which will set out how banks and building societies should respond to financial abuse – sharing our knowledge with domestic violence working groups at UK Finance (formerly the British Bankers Association) and Lloyds Banking Group.
Victoria Atkins MP hosted the official launch of the charity at an event in Parliament and spoke about the importance of addressing economic abuse within the Government’s work on violence against women and girls (VAWG). We are participants in the VAWG Stakeholder Group as well as the quality assurance panel for domestic homicide reviews.
In 2018, we want to do even more. Our aim is to fully fund the work of our Director and recruit additional staff. We will be working with Government to shape the new Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill to ensure economic abuse is recognised, both through including it in the statutory definition of domestic violence and defining what economic abuse is. Without this, support for victims of economic abuse will continue to be limited and they will have no access to justice through the law. Our work is just beginning!
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