SEA responds to the Office for National Statistics’ latest data on domestic abuse

Nicola Sharp-Jeffs, CEO of Surviving Economic Abuse, said “This latest ONS data confirms that domestic abuse continues to be shockingly prevalent, and emotional and financial abuse (which forms part of economic abuse) are the most common tactics victim-survivors reported perpetrators using. Given the scale of financial control by abusers, it’s horrifying but sadly not surprising that more than one in four victim-survivors didn’t leave an abuser because they had nowhere to go and one in 10 victim-survivors didn’t leave as they were financially reliant on the perpetrator.

“It’s clear economic abuse, where an abuser controls money and the things money can buy, is devastating the lives of victim-survivors. It makes it harder for them to leave and when they do flee they often end up destitute and homeless as a result. We must bring economic abuse out from behind closed doors so survivors know there is support out there. We also need better data collection on economic abuse so we can understand it in all its different forms – including their prevalence and the wide-ranging impacts they have.

“Furthermore, despite an avalanche of recorded domestic abuse offences, only a dwindling fraction of perpetrators are facing prosecution for their crimes. The upcoming Victim and Prisoners Bill is a golden opportunity to make sure economic abuse perpetrators are held fully to account and victim-survivors get a good response from the authorities. By making police training on controlling or coercive behaviour, including economic abuse, mandatory and access to specialist economic advocacy support a reality, we can make sure victim-survivors get the economic as well as the criminal justice they deserve and can safely rebuild their lives.”