What is Economic Abuse?
Economic abuse is a form of domestic and family violence that involves a pattern of behaviour that controls a person’s ability to acquire, use and maintain economic resources, in a way that threatens their economic security and potential for self-sufficiency.
It can include behaviours like:
- controlling a victim’s access to cash and bank accounts
- hiding financial information and assets
- sabotaging study and/or employment opportunities
- not contributing to household bills
- taking our debt in a partner’s name without their knowledge
- manipulating finances to avoid or reduce child support payments.
Economic abuse can take many different forms with behaviours falling into three main categories:
Economic resources are broader than money or finances, including housing, transport, food, employment and study.
Both economic and financial abuse undermine economic and financial safety and can have devastating long-term consequences.
Economic safety is vital to a person’s wellbeing. It is the human right to a standard of living adequate for the health and wellbeing of a person and their family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of circumstances beyond their control.
Economic safety means being free of economic abuse and includes:
- Receiving fair and appropriate financial support for your wellbeing and the wellbeing of children, or others, in your care
- Having access to appropriate financial products to help manage your finances
- Having structural and systemic support to maintain and build your economic security over time.
1. Adams, A. et al (2008). Development of the Scale of Economic Abuse. Violence Against Women, 14, 563-588.
2. Postmus, J. L., Plummer, S. B., & Stylianou, A. M. (2016). Measuring Economic Abuse in the Lives of Survivors: Revising the Scale of Economic Abuse. Violence Against Women, 22, 692–703.
3. Article 25 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights.