Unequal, trapped and controlled: research into women’s experiences of financial abuse and the potential implications for Universal Credit
Women’s Aid and the TUC wanted to find out more about women’s experiences of financial abuse and the potential implications for Universal Credit.
We conducted focus groups and an online survey with women survivors of domestic violence to find out more about their experiences and the impact that financial abuse had on their lives. We are grateful for the support of the TUC on this research project.
- Survivors and agencies identifying and responding to abuse
• Statutory agencies such as local authorities to be trained in coercive control and routinely carry out safe inquiry with women and appropriate signposting to specialist services
- Banks dealing with abuse more effectively
• Flag accounts where abuse is known, training and policy, work in partnership with specialist domestic violence services to develop specialist expertise in handling situations of coercive control
- Changes to the delivery of Universal Credit to reduce the risk of further opportunities for financial abuse
• Survivors recommended that Universal Credit housing elements should be paid direct to the landlord or lender to ensure they had a roof over their heads. 60% also agreed that Universal Credit claims from families should be paid to the mother
- Benefits and child maintenance systems supporting survivors
• Waive restrictions on benefit rules restricting entitlement to EEA nationals and returning British nationals for claims made by survivors fleeing domestic violence
• Ensure women and children have safe child maintenance arrangements in place by fast-tracking domestic violence survivors to the Child Maintenance Collection system (without having to meet other requirements) and dropping all charges for use
- Further data collection to identify more detail about this form of abuse, so that interventions can take place sooner and more effectively.