UK government launches new online tool to tackle domestic economic abuse

The UK government has launched a new online interactive tool to tackle domestic economic abuse. Find out how it works

A woman looking through the window. Social distancing
(Image credit: Photographer, Basak Gurbuz Derman)

Domestic abuse can be difficult to talk about, whether it’s something that is affecting you or someone you know. 

The UK government is following its pledge from this summer to tackle economic domestic abuse, by launching a free interactive tool for businesses and charities as part of the £12million support announced in the Autumn Statement

It comes after new data shows the police force in England and Wales receive over 100 calls relating to domestic abuse every hour, and during the Christmas period, calls rise by 25%. 

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Plus, according to Surviving Economic Abuse, an estimated one in five women in the UK have experienced economic abuse in the past year. 

Find out what help is available through the new tool, and how to spot economic domestic abuse. 

How does the new interactive tool work? 

The new interactive tool will train businesses and charities to help them spot and tackle economic domestic abuse. The support is available on GOV.UK.

The trained call handler will use the interactive tool to help them identify if the person on the line is a victim of economic domestic abuse, based on their responses. 

The call handler can then take suitable action, for example, advising the potential victim of relevant charities and support networks.

Dr Nicola Sharp-Jeffs OBE, CEO and founder of Surviving Economic Abuse, said: “It’s vital that employers are properly trained in spotting the signs of economic abuse and confidently signposting to specialist support. The right response will be life changing.”

HMRC has been working with Surviving Economic Abuse holding workshops with charities and financial firms to develop the interactive tool. 

If you are a victim of economic domestic abuse, you can reach out to the charity Money Advice Plus on their free helpline: 08081968845. 

How to spot economic domestic abuse 

Dr Nicola Sharp-Jeffs explains: “Economic abuse, where an abuser controls money and the things money can buy, is a devastating form of domestic abuse. It makes it harder for victim-survivors and their children to leave and rebuild their lives safely.”

There are certain signs you can look out for to identify if you are potentially a victim of economic domestic abuse, according to Surviving Economic Abuse. 

One red flag to look out for is if someone is taking control of your money. They might take your wages, refuse access to your bank account, prevent you from claiming benefits or even stop you from pursuing a job or being in education. 

An abuser can also have a controlling nature, such as telling you how to spend your money, putting all economic assets in their name, or making you justify every purchase you make. 

If you think you are a victim of domestic abuse, Dr Nicola advises reporting it to “the police, a bank manager, supermarket cashier or call handler – they can give a supportive response.”

Vaishali Varu
Staff Writer

Vaishali has a background in personal finance and a passion for helping people manage their finances. As a staff writer for MoneyWeek, Vaishali covers the latest news, trends and insights on property, savings and ISAs.

She also has bylines for the U.S. personal finance site and Ideal Home, GoodTo, inews, The Week and the Leicester Mercury

Before joining MoneyWeek, Vaishali worked in marketing and copywriting for small businesses. Away from her desk, Vaishali likes to travel, socialise and cook homely favourites