Economic abuse toolkit receives official launch in Eastbourne

Earlier this month Money Advice Plus (MAP) and SEA hosted a Ministerial visit at MAP’s Eastbourne office to mark the launch of a new economic abuse toolkit.

Produced by the Fairness Group (convened by the Cabinet Office), the toolkit aims to support public sector bodies that are recovering debt. The toolkit is designed to help civil servants across the public sector understand, identify and support those experiencing economic abuse or living with its effects. The resource contains signposting information to allow staff to manage disclosures of abuse effectively and provide victim-survivors with the support needed.

The toolkit was created by the Cabinet Office with input from SEA and MAP to leverage their respective expertise in financial literacy and economic abuse to develop a valuable resource that brings together proven best-practice tools.

MAP and SEA were joined at the launch by Minister for the Cabinet Office Jeremy Quin who visited the Southeast coast to lend his backing to the initiative. During his visit, Mr. Quin was able to meet with members of the teams and learn more about their work. He spent time with a SEA Expert by Experience who shared her experience of economic abuse and how she had been let down by the HMRC. He also met with the CEOs of SEA and MAP, Nicola Sharp-Jeffs and Karen Perrier.

The launch of the toolkit couldn’t be timelier with the latest figures from the Financial Support Line and Casework Service (run in partnership between MAP and SEA) showing a huge rise in individual debts. On average, victim-survivors currently have a personal average debt of £20,000, six times greater than in 2020. With 1 in 6 women in the UK experiencing economic abuse by a current or former partner, it’s critical that agencies across the public sector have the information necessary to provide effective support.

Remarking on the potential impact of the toolkit, Nicola stated, “The toolkit is important because for a long time, economic abuse has been an invisible form of coercive and controlling behaviour. This means people haven’t recognised economic abuse as a form of domestic abuse and realised that responses are needed.. By noticing the signs of economic abuse including coerced debt early, staff across the public sector can have a massive impact on the safety and economic stability of victim-survivors”

Karen Perrier continued, “I think the toolkit is a fabulous start for the Cabinet Office and their staff. I think it’s going to bring a lot of confidence to people working with victim-survivors. This will be incredibly helpful for those perhaps making a disclosure of economic abuse for the first time, ensure they receive the support and signposting needed.”

You can access the economic abuse toolkit here