If an abusive partner is using economic abuse as a form of control, this can make leaving extremely difficult. Without access to the funds needed to escape, you may feel trapped.
If you wish to leave an abuser but don’t have access to the economic resources you need to leave, this information is for you. It may help you to think about steps you can take to prepare to leave, if this is what you have decided to do. This might include creating an escape fund and ensuring you can access to day-to-day essentials.
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Taking steps to leave an abuser is extremely brave decision and may feel overwhelming. Remember that you are not alone and help is available.
Abuse can sometimes get worse when a relationship ends. We have information on what to do if you are in immediate danger or need additional support.
If the abuser restricts your access to money, you may want to consider creating an escape fund that could allow you to leave. Consider carefully if you can do this safely, without being discovered by the abuser.
Other means of building an escape fund may include:
A benefits advance
If you receive benefits, it is sometimes possible to get a short-term advance if you are in financial hardship. If benefits are paid directly to you and cannot be accessed by the abuser, this may be something you could explore by contacting the relevant office that deals with your benefit claim. If benefits are paid into an account used by the abuser, it may be possible to agree a transfer to another bank account to take place on an agreed date to coordinate with when you leave.
Welfare assistance scheme or hardship fund
Many local councils have a scheme that you may be eligible to apply for, offering grants or vouchers to help pay for day-to-day essentials. You don’t have to be claiming benefits to receive help from your local council. We have more information on hardship funds and welfare assistance schemes.
A number of charities and organisations provide grants to people in financial difficulty to help with day-to-day costs. Some funds, such as The Biscuit Fund, provide one-off grants at short notice, sometimes on the same day. A support organisation or agency, such as a domestic abuse support service, will usually need to refer you.
Support with the cost of public transport is available in many areas for people fleeing abuse.
If you decide to leave, think about the items that it may be useful to take with you in addition to any money that you have. If it is safe to do so, you could keep an emergency bag in a location that is hidden from the abuser. You could give it to a trusted friend or family member before you leave.
Restricted funds while you are fleeing abuse may leave you struggling to cover the cost of essential items. Support that may be available includes:
Food banks provide a minimum of three days’ emergency food to people in crisis. You may need a referral from a support service, such as a domestic abuse support service, or a doctor or social worker, for example.
If your local council runs a welfare assistance scheme or hardship fund, this may include a grant or loan to help cover the cost of day-to-day essentials, including food, or food vouchers may be part of the scheme.
If you are fleeing domestic abuse, you may be eligible for accommodation in a refuge or emergency accommodation provided by the local council. We have information on finding a safe place to live if you need somewhere safe to stay.
We have information on the support that may be available to cover the cost of essentials and find accommodation if you are fleeing with children.
Our information on grants and financial help lists some of the organisations that have hardship funds available for people in financial distress, including people experiencing abuse. We also have more information on steps you can take towards economic safety.
Last updated July 2021
If you are experiencing economic abuse, you are not alone. We have more information that can support you to take steps towards safety and begin to regain control of your finances.
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