As the cost of living crisis continues, many families are facing a crisis that is putting immense strain on their relationships. The financial burden is taking a heavy toll on many households.  At Jewish Women’s Aid, a charity supporting women affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence, we know that it is vital that people understand the connection between the cost of living crisis and domestic abuse and to address abuse in our community in all its forms.


Domestic abuse and violence, and that includes financial abuse, is no different in the Jewish community than the rest of the UK, with 1 in 4 being affected by domestic abuse at some point in their lives. The impact of the cost of living crisis is proving devastating for some women, making it hard for them to leave an abusive relationship for financial reasons.


A new survey by Refuge, a national domestic abuse charity, has found that over three quarters (77%) of frontline workers said that survivors are finding it harder to leave abusers, forcing women to choose between remaining with their abusive partner or risking destitution. More than 50% of Refuge frontline staff surveyed said that the cost-of-living crisis is leading survivors to return to their abusers.


At Jewish Women's Aid we are seeing an increase in demand for our services by women and children affected by the cost of living crisis. We continue to support hundreds of Jewish women and their children each month, who are living with the trauma of domestic abuse and sexual violence.


We help the women we work with to access practical financial support such as for covering food costs, utility bills and buying essential clothing by signposting them to legal and benefits advice. Our team of trained staff help women navigate the legal system and seek justice for the abuse they have suffered.


The 2021 Domestic Abuse Act includes economic abuse for the first time and contains new measures to protect survivors of domestic abuse. It gives a legal definition of domestic abuse.

Coercive control is a form of domestic abuse that involves one partner exerting power and control over the other. It can take many forms, including psychological manipulation, physical violence and financial abuse.  Financial abuse is a particularly insidious form of coercive control, where one partner controls the finances and limits the other’s access to money.

This type of abuse can continue long after a survivor has left the relationship and can have lifelong effects, preventing victims from rebuilding their lives.

The Act defines economic abuse as any behaviour that has a substantial and adverse effect on an individual’s ability to: 

  • acquire, use or maintain money or other property (such as a mobile phone or car) or  
  • obtain goods (such as food and clothing) or services (such as utilities, like heating)

This definition means that everyone will have the same understanding of what economic abuse is.

The Act does not make economic abuse a crime in its own right. However, it means that the police and other statutory agencies should now be aware of economic abuse and will be more likely to consider it as a form of controlling or coercive behaviour.

Financial abuse can have a devastating effect on a person's life and well-being. We must work together as a community to raise awareness of this issue and support those who are affected by it. Jewish Women’s Aid are here to help and support any Jewish women and children who are affected by financial/economic abuse and any other form of domestic abuse and sexual violence.


Caroline Ratner, co-chair of Jewish Women’s Aid says: “We are working hard to educate people about the signs of financial abuse and provide support and resources for those who have been affected”.


Alison Rosen, who will be taking up her role as Chief Executive at Jewish Women’s Aid in March said, “Since being appointed as CEO, I am overwhelmed by the need for support for women in these very difficult financial times.”