Below the radar: recognising and addressing the serious and long term impact of economic abuse as part of domestic abuse

20 September

Conference Aston, Birmingham


Nicola Sharp-Jeffs
Director of Surviving Economic Abuse


September 20, 2018 - 9:30 am


September 20, 2018 - 3:45 pm


Conference Aston - Whitehall Suite, Meeting Rooms, Aston Triangle, Birmingham, B4 7ET   View map
Surviving Economic Abuse logo

Economic abuse is often the hidden tie that binds victims of domestic abuse to their abusers and acts as a road-block to forging a new life. It can prevent victims leaving an abusive or violent partner and, even when they do leave, can coerce a return home, allow for ongoing control over the victim’s life, or leave them in poverty.

Economic abuse is defined as behaviours that interfere with a victim’s ability to acquire, use and maintain economic resources (Adams et al. 2008). It relates to money and finances, but also to wider resources such as housing, transport and the ability to hold down a job.

According to Surviving Economic Abuse, women accessing specialist domestic violence services report high rates of economic abuse, between 43-98 per cent (Sharp, 2008). In a national prevalence study, one in five women reported having experienced economic abuse in a current or former relationship.
(Sharp-Jeffs, 2015).

Section 76 of the Serious Crime Act 2015 created a new offence of controlling or coercive behaviour in intimate or familial relationships, which includes economic abuse. However, economic abuse is often not recognised, and – in police and other services’ eyes – is a lower priority than other forms of abuse. However, it has a clear correlation with serious physical abuse, and early recognition of economic abuse could prevent later harm.

Examples provided by victims illustrate the ongoing and serious impact of economic abuse: employers plagued by emails and telephone calls about the victim, cutting off the victim’s essential services such as gas or electricity; the abuser refusing to move out of a property lived in by the victim, and coercing loans from the victim which are never repaid. The legacy of these actions can go on and on.

Recent developments in everyday technology may ironically make it easier for perpetrators to control bank accounts, utilities accounts, and access work emails.

So what can be done? A range of measures could collectively lead to a much more powerful response to economic abuse. These range from creating a wider awareness of economic abuse by both mainstream and domestic abuse specialist services, to making early interventions, offering financial advocacy, using criminal, family and consumer law, and changing local and national government policy.




Economic abuse involves a wide range of service providers, extending to providers of utilities, financial institutions, and employers as well as police, housing, health services and legal professionals.

This learning day offers professionals from all services the opportunity to:

  • gain a more detailed understanding of the nature and long term impact of economic abuse
  • understand the overlap with other forms of abuse
  • look at how to identify economic abuse, and how to gather evidence to prosecute it through considering case studies
  • look at local service changes which can be made to tackle economic abuse more effectively
  • take a brief look at future changes in law which could impact economic abuse, such as criminal and consumer law

The facilitator is Dr Nicola Sharp-Jeffs, Director of Surviving Economic Abuse.



Agenda (subject to change)

9.30 – 10.00

Registration and coffee

10.00 – 10.10

Welcome and introductions

10.10 – 11.15

Economic abuse: definitions, implications and understanding

  • defining economic abuse
  • research findings
  • examining the impact on victims’ lives
  • Q&A

11.15 – 11.40

Coffee Break

11.40 – 13.00

Identifying economic abuse and building the evidence

  • overlap with other forms of abuse
  • signs of economic abuse
  • how economic abuse can be perpetrated
  • case studies
  • Q&A

13.00 – 13.50


13.50 – 14.45

Making change at local level to address economic abuse more effectively

  • Early interventions
  • The reality of mainstream versus specialist services
  • Financial advocacy
  • Q&A

14.45 – 15.00

Quick Break

15.00 – 15.45

Future changes in law

  • Raising awareness/policy priorities
  • Criminal, family and consumer law
  • Challenges in evidence gathering
  • Q&A


Close of learning day

  • domestic abuse services
  • police
  • family lawyers
  • Crown Prosecution Service
  • housing providers
  • health services (including mental health)
  • support services for families
  • adult safeguarding services
  • advocacy services for victims
  • HR departments
  • Consumer liaison departments of utility companies and financial institutions

The training will take place in Birmingham City Centre:

Conference Aston Whitehall Suite, Meeting Rooms

Aston University,

The Aston Triangle,


B4 7ET

Venue telephone – 0121 204 4300

New Street, Snow Hill and Moor Street train stations are all within 20 minutes walk of the venue or a 5 minute taxi journey.

Car parking and direction information

Follow this link for a downloadable map, directions and car park information:

There are pay and display car parks on-site but spaces must be booked in advance – follow the link above to do this.


 There is a hotel on-site in the Aston Business School

Follow this link for costs, details of rooms and booking information:

£130 + VAT per place

A *team deal discount is available when you book 3 or 5 places together

*3 places (3rd place half price) £325 +VAT

*5 places  (5th place free) £520 + VAT

Please ring 0115 9163104 for further information.

The delegate rate includes an information pack, lunch and refreshments throughout the day.


Booking Terms and Conditions

Cancellations received up to and including 30th August 2018 will be refunded in full less an administration fee of 25%. Cancellations received after this date will be liable for payment in full.  Team deals are non-cancellable, but substitute delegates will be accepted.

The full invoice amount will remain payable if you fail to attend the event, however, substitute delegates will be accepted up until, and including, the day of the event.



Confirmation of booking:

Your booking will be confirmed by email where possible (and by fax or post otherwise), and you will be provided with directions to the venue and details on nearby hotel accommodation. If you do not receive such acknowledgement, please contact Central Conference Consultants Ltd on 0115 916 3104.