Dr Nicola Sharp-Jeffs, founder and CEO of Surviving Economic Abuse (SEA), has been awarded an OBE for services to victims of domestic and economic abuse.
Nicola worked in the domestic abuse field for over ten years before she launched SEA in 2017, the first and only charity in the UK dedicated to raising awareness of economic abuse and transforming responses to it.
In three short years, Nicola has grown a team of experts in the field. Working with partners, the charity has radically altered how a range of sectors – from the wider domestic abuse sector to debt/money advice, financial services, housing, policing, local authorities and government – understand, and respond to, economic abuse. Led by her passionate resolve, SEA has been at the forefront of informing and educating the UK on what economic abuse is, the tactics abusers use, and what needs to be done to better support victim-survivors.
Among many achievements, Nicola has influenced the highest levels of government to ensure economic abuse is named and recognised in the Domestic Abuse Bill, affording survivors legislative recognition and protection for the first time.
In 2018, Nicola helped develop the UK Finance’s Financial Abuse Code of Practice, which has been adopted by banks and building societies across the country. Since then, SEA has worked closely with Lloyds Banking Group to establish, train and provide ongoing support to its specialist domestic and financial abuse team.
Additionally, SEA’s pioneering work on coerced debt, the Economic Justice Project, has been celebrated by sister organisations across the globe and SEA’s message has made headlines, from BBC Breakfast and This Morning to the New York Times, the Guardian and The Sunday Times.
At the beating heart of SEA is the Expert by Experience Group; victims-survivors who share their stories and insights to help guide and inform SEA’s work. Nicola unwaveringly centres these women and their experiences, working to ensure they are empowered to rebuild their lives, free from the devastating chains of economic abuse.
Glenda* was the first member of the EEG group. “Nicola changed my life. She is a pioneering champion for women and quite simply, she’s amazing”
A world-leading expert, a tireless advocate and a truly inspirational leader, the team at SEA is delighted to see the hard work of Dr Nicola Sharp-Jeffs be recognised. We know she will use this honour to further her efforts to ensure that no woman is left behind.
Cathy Millis, Chair of Trustees said: “Dr Nicola Sharp-Jeff’s drive to raise awareness of economic abuse and improve how organisations respond to victim-survivors is inspirational. She works relentlessly to shine a light on this overlooked issue and has already made great waves, garnering attention from national mainstream media and policy makers. Nicola is a formidably focussed woman, who has achieved so much in such a short period of time, all while building a stable charity, which now employs 18 people. She does none of this with concern for her own profile, only ever wishing to amplify the voices of survivors of abuse. On behalf of all the trustees, I am delighted that her passion and unfaltering commitment has been recognised”
Dr Nicola Sharp-Jeffs said: “To know that this award recognises services to victims of economic abuse is just incredible. It provides much-needed recognition of the experiences of many.
When I founded Surviving Economic Abuse (SEA), the term economic abuse was not recognised in policy or legislation and practice responses were limited. We have come a long way in just three years, and it is thanks to the dedication and passion of the SEA team, the Experts by Experience we work alongside and the charity’s Trustees.
We still have a way to go to ensure that all women, regardless of immigration status, are protected and supported so I hope that this honour, and the recognition it provides, will enable us to do even more to raise awareness of economic abuse and transform responses to it.
Further background on Dr. Nicola Sharp-Jeffs:
Nicola is an expert in economic abuse as it occurs within the context of coercive control. She has worked in the violence against women and girls (VAWG) sector since 2006 in policy-influencing and research roles.
In 2016, Nicola was made a Winston Churchill Fellow and travelled to the United States and Australia to explore innovative responses to economic abuse. It was her determination to ensure that women in the UK have access to the same responses that led her to establish Surviving Economic Abuse (SEA).
Nicola is also an Emeritus Research Fellow in the Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit (CWASU), London Metropolitan University and a Visiting Senior Fellow in Social Policy at the School of Law and Social Sciences, University of Suffolk