Economic abuse as part of domestic abuse means using financial abuse as well as other economic resources to make or keep someone dependent.

This includes housing, food, clothes and transport, and economic effects include access to employment and financial insecurity. Economic abuse means that women are less likely to be able to access support, and will stay in unsafe abusive relationships for longer.

JWA clients report high rates of financial and economic abuse, as do clients of all domestic abuse services. The behaviour can include:

  • not allowing you to have your own money (even if you've earned it)
  • making you account for every penny you spend
  • telling you that you can't manage money, or you spend on worthless things
  • denying you basic necessities
  • not consulting you on financial decisions that affect the family
  • taking all earnings and benefits
  • denying you use of credit or debit cards
  • preventing you from having a job, or making it impossible for you to get to work
  • threatening to deny you access to a phone, or the car, or other economic assets
  • using money as a source of power with which to threaten you

Economic abuse is designed to reinforce or create economic dependence. In this way it limits women’s choices and ability to access safety. Lack of access to economic resources can result in women staying with abusive men for longer and experiencing more harm as a result. When women experience economic abuse within a context of coercive control then they are at increased risk of domestic homicide (Websdale, 1999)