SEA welcomes the Government’s Hidden Harms summit

Surviving Economic Abuse (SEA) welcomes the Government’s Hidden Harms summit and drive to tackle domestic abuse and other social issues that must be addressed within its response to COVID-19. Awareness of economic abuse, as a form of domestic abuse, must be increased across all sectors so that instances of it can be identified and victims can be supported and seek justice.

The restrictions in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 present abusers with an opportunity to start or escalate economic abuse and limits victims in their ability to safely seek help.

It is vital that the current and anticipated needs of victims of economic abuse in the context of COVID-19 are identified so that these can be met; SEA is about to commence a rapid review of these and is keen to work with the Government and other stakeholders to share findings and develop policy and practice responses.

Emerging needs of victims are being identified in connection to access to: an income; the internet for information on finances; safe spaces to access financial information; legal advice; emergency accommodation, and; support to deal with debts accrued  as a result of experiencing economic abuse during the pandemic. It is key that these are quickly addressed through concerted action and SEA is keen to work with stakeholders to support this.

SEA is calling on the Government to:

  • Set out a full Covid-19 cross-Government strategy on domestic abuse (including economic abuse) to cover both the period of lockdown and the period immediately after lockdown, when need for support is also likely to be acute. 
  • Undertake a national evidence gathering exercise into economic abuse and to work with stakeholders across sectors to integrate the findings into the refreshed violence against women and girls strategy, and accompanying action plan, as well as other relevant strategies.

You can read SEA’s full briefing here.