Our new report Seen yet sidelined, funded by Barclays UK, reveals that economic abuse is no longer ‘hidden’ in plain sight. Up and down the country experiences of economic control are being shared by domestic abuse victim-survivors with police officers and in courts.
In December 2017 we published Into Plain Sight, the first analysis of economic abuse within successful prosecutions of the Controlling or Coercive Behaviour (CCB) Offence.
The report made economic abuse visible for the first time, by showing that economic control was a feature in 60 per cent of cases.
The CCB Offence has provided a legal framework within which to hold perpetrators of economic abuse accountable. However, our new report, Seen yet sidelined, reveals that despite these changes to the law victim-survivors are still not getting the criminal or economic justice they deserve, making it impossible to move on with their lives.
By analysing 810 successfully prosecuted offences of controlling or coercive behaviour, Seen yet sidelined found that nearly two-thirds (64%) of cases reported in the press reference economic abuse.
Despite this high prevalence and economic abuse now being recognised in law, we found that the criminal justice system is not using its powers to fully hold perpetrators of economic abuse to account or support victim-survivors to achieve justice.
The report discovered that bringing multiple charges to court, rather than evidencing all the abuse within a single charge of coercive control, resulted in plea-bargaining, more lenient sentences being handed down and victim-survivors feeling like criminal and economic justice has not been served. We also found that:
The Victims and Prisoners Bill is a golden opportunity to move economic abuse out of the shadows to make sure victim-survivors are better supported and perpetrators are held to account. The Bill should:
This report is dedicated to Kellie Sutton, whose experiences of coercive control are shared in the report. We are grateful to Kellie’s family for their support in dedicating the report to her memory.
If you’d like to share Seen yet sidelined on social media, don’t forget to tag @SEAresource and use #SeenYetSidelined
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