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Unequal Trapped & Controlled

Issue date
Women’s experience of financial abuse and potential implications for Universal Credit
Exploratory research by Women’s Aid for the TUC By Marilyn Howard and Amy Skipp

Unequal Trapped & ControlledOfficial statistics do not identify financial abuse as a distinct form of abuse. Yet survivors raise this as a significant issue with Women’s Aid and US research shows that it is a discrete aspect of ‘coercive control’ – a pattern of controlling behaviour through threats or by restricting victims’ freedom. Most survivors experience financial abuse at some point (including after separating from an abusive partner). Domestic violence is rooted in the historical status of women in society and in the family, and is recognised internationally as both a consequence and cause of gender inequality and discrimination. Women experience significantly more frequent and severe domestic violence than men.

Women’s Aid undertook interviews and focus groups with 27 women between October and December 2014 to explore experiences of financial abuse and its interaction with benefits and tax credits in the run-up to full Universal Credit roll-out. In December 2014 a further online survey of more women was undertaken. In this report we refer to the findings from 126 women respondents in total.

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