Go to top Hide Page

Domestic Abuse

What is Domestic Abuse?

“Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.” – Metropolitan Police.

Domestic Abuse can affect anyone regardless of class, gender, age, faith, religion or sexual identity however, it is a gendered crime that disproportionately affects women and girls. Whilst we recognise that domestic abuse can affect all members of society, EDAC focuses on the support required by women as part of the Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Strategy to create sustainable solutions for the future

Key Statistics on Domestic Abuse

On average, two women a week are killed by a current or former partner in England and Wales alone Source: ONS, 2019.

The police receive a domestic violence-related call every 30 seconds, yet it is estimated that less than 24% of domestic violence crime is reported to the police Source: HMIC (2014) Everyone’s business: Improving the police response to domestic abuse and Walby and Allen (2004).

In the year ending March 2020, 1.6 million women experienced domestic abuse Source: ONS, 2019.

It is estimated that around three women a week commit suicide as a result of domestic violence Source: Professor Sylvia Walby (2004) The Cost of Domestic Violence.

woman with tears in her eyes

Types of Domestic Abuse

Physical – punching, hitting, slapping, pushing

Emotional – blackmail, threats, guilt-tripping, swearing

Financial – removal or control of finances, wages or income

Economic – denying access to economic resources such as education

Sexual – rape, assault, grooming, exploitation

Physiological – coercive and controlling behaviour

Spotlight on Economic Abuse

The short and long-term effects of economic abuse can be devastating. It is a form of controlling coercive behaviour and a common tactic used to gain power and control in a relationship.

Economic Abuse includes, but is not limited to, financial abuse. It is whereby an abuser limits how their partner acquires, uses and maintains money and economic resources, such as food, clothing, accommodation and transportation. Additionally, they may deny their partner means of improving their economic status, such as education and employment.

In the short-term, access to employment is imperative to staying safe. Without a job, survivors are often unable to obtain safe and affordable housing or funds to provide for themselves or their children. With realistic fears of homelessness, violence and debt, it is little wonder that victims sometimes return to an abusive partner.

For those who manage to escape the abuse and survive, initially they often face overwhelming odds in obtaining long-term security and safety, have poor credit scores, sporadic employment histories, and legal issues caused by the abuse which makes it extremely difficult to gain independence, safety, and long-term security.

Economic abuse causes women to leave their abusive environment with little to nothing, making it challenging for them to rebuild an independent life.

EDAC is able to provide the opportunities and support to allow them to make their own financial and life decisions.

Domestic Abuse Report 2019: The Economics of Abuse

A survey of 72 survivors found that:

  • Nearly a third of respondents said their access to money during the relationship was controlled by the perpetrator
  • A quarter of respondents said that their partner did not let them have money for essentials during the relationship
  • A third of respondents had to give up their home as a result of the abuse or leaving the relationship and nine found themselves homeless as a result of leaving
  • 43.1% of respondents told us they were in debt as a result of the abuse and over a quarter regularly lost sleep through worrying about debt
  • 56.1% of our sample who had left a relationship with an abuser felt that the abuse had impacted their ability to work and over two-fifths of all respondents felt the abuse had negatively impacted their long-term employment prospects/earnings

“Economic abuse is designed to reinforce or create economic instability. 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.”

Surviving Economic Abuse

Domestic Abuse Act 2021

The Domestic Abuse Act (2021) received its Royal Assent on 29th April 2021 and is the government’s national response to the devastating crime of domestic abuse. The Act aims to promote awareness of the issue, ensure perpetrators are brought to justice and offer greater protection and support to survivors. EDAC is to be a formal recommendation within the Act, calling for businesses to do more to tackle Domestic Abuse.

To read more about the Act, click here.

“Domestic abuse is an abhorrent crime perpetrated on victims and their families by those who should love and care for them. This landmark Bill will help transform the response to domestic abuse, helping to prevent offending, protect victims and ensure they have the support they need.”

Victoria Atkins MP, Minister for Safeguarding

Domestic Abuse and COVID

The pandemic has made many people’s lives difficult, and especially for women living in abusive households. Women are locked down with their abuser, creating an environment that has escalated occurrences of domestic abuse. It has also significantly limited resources and support available for women, with Women’s Aid reporting 85% of domestic abuse services responding to their survey have had to reduce or cancel one or more of their services.



Further Resources