Lloyds Banking Group will pilot a pioneering tool to identify economic abuse. The Economic Abuse Evidence Form (EAEF), developed by Surviving Economic Abuse (SEA), the only charity in the UK dedicated to tackling economic abuse, will work to validate victims’ experiences of abuse with creditors.
The EAEF will provide a single mechanism through which a money or debt advisor can tell a creditor that their client has experienced economic abuse. During the piloting stage, a victim will have the form filled out on their behalf and sent directly to their creditors. The form acts to verify the evidence of coerced debt and ensure the victim-survivor will only need to tell their story once. SEA’s research shows that 60% of DA victim-survivors have been forced into debt. Banks can play a crucial role in identifying this debt, potentially stopping it from escalating, and assisting the victim-survivor in rebuilding their lives.
Earlier this year, a group of independent experts named the EAEF as one of 13 “urgent recommendations” to the government for the UK’s strategy to financial wellbeing during the pandemic.
In further partnership, SEA’s Banking Specialist, Jenn Glinski, has been seconded to the Lloyds Banking Group specialist Financial and Domestic Abuse team. Jenn has spent 10 years working in research, policy and educational roles in the field of violence against women. Alongside her role at SEA, Jenn is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Glasgow, where her research examines economic abuse. In 2020, she was a visiting scholar in the Center on Violence Against Women and Children at Rutgers University in the USA.
The collaboration means that SEA’s expertise can be utilised across the Group, working to support both vulnerable customers and staff who are facing economic abuse. The partnership hopes to increase the understanding of economic abuse across all Lloyds Banking Group teams and products in order to provide tailored responses to victim-survivors.
As we face a winter of social restrictions, the effort to help victim-survivors is more critical than ever, opening up new safe spaces within which victims can disclose abuse and be offered help. SEA’s latest report, The Cost of Covid: Economic Abuse throughout the pandemic reveals results from a survey of over 500 victim-survivors and frontline professionals. 78% reported that the perpetrator had attempted to control their money or finances during the outbreak – and 66% said this had been successful. 84% said that due to the actions of their abuser, they were currently worried about their financial situation. These findings prove just how essential and urgent the EAEF and the wider collaboration between SEA and the Lloyds Banking Group is.
The collaboration comes two years on from the launch of the Code of Practise by UK Finance, a framework for how the banking sector should recognise and support victims of abuse. In that time, Lloyds Banking Group has made a real and determined commitment to ensure they support colleagues and customers who experience economic abuse and were recognised for this work by a panel of judges which evaluated the response of banks and building societies to the Code.
Last year SEA supported and advised Lloyds Banking Group on the launch of their Domestic and Financial Abuse Team, as well as providing training to staff members on how to spot signs.
Fiona Cannon, Group Sustainable Business Director said: “Domestic and economic abuse is a key business issue for us. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will experience domestic and economic abuse in their lifetime, which means a number of our 30 million customers and 65,000 colleagues will be impacted. Surviving Economic Abuse have been instrumental in the creation and training of our dedicated specialist support team which launched at the end of last year. I’m delighted Jenn has joined us on secondment to build on this success so we can work together to create practical solutions to very real problems, allowing us to help even more of our customers.”
Dr Nicola Sharp-Jeffs OBE, founder and CEO of SEA said: “We’re thrilled to be working so closely in partnership with Lloyds Banking Group to transform responses to economic abuse. In particular their commitment to piloting the Economic Abuse Evidence Form which has been recommended as an important action by a group of independent experts, and something that the Money and Pensions Service is also supporting.”
Jenn Glinski, Banking Specialist at SEA said: “I’m delighted to work alongside Lloyds Banking Group in this role. This is a groundbreaking model of collaboration between a financial institution and a domestic abuse charity, which combines our expertise in order to accomplish our shared aim of improving experiences of victim-survivors of economic and other forms of domestic abuse.”
To read how SEA are supporting banks and training finance professionals, see our evaluation into The Domestic and Economic Abuse Project (DEAP) run in partnership with Money Advice Plus:
The evaluation was undertaken by Dr Olumide Adisa at the Centre for Abuse Research within the Suffolk Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Suffolk.
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