Experts urge Money and Pension Service to work with SEA to address economic abuse as victims face annual bill of £23.5 million coerced debt

A body of independent experts has urged the Money and Pension Service (MaPS) to work with Surviving Economic Abuse (SEA) to address economic abuse.

The Economic Abuse Evidence Form (EAEF), created by SEA in partnership with Money Advice Plus, has been included as one of 13 “urgent recommendations” made by the Challenge Chairs Group tasked with advising the government’s Money and Pension Service.

These recommendations are launched today in a report today called Building the UK’s financial wellbeing in the light of Covid-19

8.7 million people report having experienced economic abuse and SEA’s research shows that 60% will be coerced into debt. 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. The form can verify the evidence of coerced debt, and ensure the victim-survivor will only need to tell their story once. We believe the EAEF will result in fairer, more consistent decision making in cases of coerced debt.

Our recently published research in this area found that the average coerced debt is £4,500 per woman and the average number of creditors is 5. Victims collectively foot an annual bill of £23.5 million.

The design of the EAEF has been informed by victim-survivors’ experiences. In addition to its positive impact on individuals, the form can help gather evidence of industry-specific issues, which SEA will use to influence change in policy and practice.

The Challenge Chairs Group recommends that SEA should lead a pilot of the EAEF for Summer 2021 and then be rolled out in the autumn of that year.

Dr Nicola Sharp-Jeffs, OBE, founder and CEO of SEA said, “We’re thrilled to see CCG’s support to address economic abuse. We are well aware that the economic uncertainty and social restrictions brought about by Covid-19 make the lives of victims even more dangerous. For this reason, it is more important than ever that work to tackle economic abuse and support to fully-fund the pilot of the EAEF is very welcome.”

Case studies are available. For more information contact [email protected]