Surviving Economic Abuse, launches a new campaign, End Economic Abuse, with the release of a short film developed by creative communications agency, Media Zoo. The film highlights the lived experience of this devastating but largely invisible form of abuse.
The launch is timed to coincide with the first reading of the draft Domestic Abuse Bill in the House of Commons. This is significant because the draft Domestic Abuse Bill names and defines economic abuse for the very first time. The Home Office has endorsed the ‘powerful’ new film.
Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability, Victoria Atkins said: “Having spoken to survivors of domestic abuse, I have been both shocked by their stories and moved by their resilience and strength. As a government, we must do all we can to support those who have suffered this horrendous abuse. The Domestic Abuse Bill goes further than ever before and recognises the complex nature of domestic abuse, while putting the needs of victims at the forefront.”
The film highlights the shocking UK statistics; one in five adults have experienced economic abuse and over one third didn’t tell anyone at the time.
Endeconomicabuse.com acts as platform from which victim-survivors can access support, with new resources also launched today.
Dr Nicola Sharp-Jeffs, director of Surviving Economic Abuse says: “SEA is proud to partner with the brilliant creatives at Media Zoo who produced this film, drawing on the direct experiences of victims of economic abuse. It is vital that this form of abuse is recognised, and alongside the introduction of economic abuse within the draft Bill, the film is a powerful awareness-raising tool.”
SEA works with a group of women, known as Experts by Experience, who often refer to their experience of economic abuse as if they are drowning, so when Media Zoo approached the charity with this same concept, having spoken to women themselves, we knew it would be a great fit.
Rachel Pendered, Managing Director, Media Zoo says: “Economic abuse is an unseen crime that can only be tackled if people understand how it traps people. Victims of this abuse often describe a feeling of drowning. Media Zoo created a film that was powerful enough to let the audience experience just a little of what it must be like to be a victim. We are honoured to work with SEA to help raise awareness of economic abuse and to highlight and promote the new platform and resources available to victims and survivors.”
It is imperative that this often-hidden form of abuse and its devastating and long-lasting implications, are brought into plain sight. This campaign, End Economic Abuse, aims not just to support those women already impacted by economic abuse, but reach many others who need information and support to spot the signs. This too will enable professional services such as financial institutions, the legal system and the police to work to hold perpetrators to account, with the political gravitas that this form of abuse now has.
  Sharp-Jeffs, N. (2015) Money Matters: Research into the extent and nature of financial abuse within intimate relationships in the UK London: The Co-operative Bank/Refuge*
* note that financial abuse is a sub-category of economic abuse which involves the control/exploitation/sabotage of economic resources (not ‘just’ money and finances but housing, transportation etc.) more broadly; as such the scale of the issue is likely to be underestimated. There are no national statistics on the scale of economic abuse.