Women’s Budget Group report: Universal Credit and Financial Abuse – Exploring the Links

“Combining payments may send money straight to wallet and not to purse, undermining women’s economic independence and their ability to leave abusive relationships.”

This is according to Mary-Ann Stephenson, Director of the Women’s Budget Group in relation to the June 2018 report on Universal Credit and financial abuse.

The report is by the Women’s Budget Group, Surviving Economic Abuse, and the End Violence Against Women Coalition.

The report claims that Universal Credit (UC) single payment to households may exacerbate domestic violence by concentrating resources and power in the hands of an abusive partner.

This can give rise financial abuse, a type of domestic abuse which controls a partner’s use of financial resources and undermines their independence and autonomy.

The report also covers:

  • Universal Credit couple claims and payments
  • Alternative and split payments
  • Gender impacts of Universal Credit

Key recommendations to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) include:

  • Gather evidence on the nature and extent of applications for split payments
  • Set up a working group to develop alternative working arrangements
  • Develop a revised, updated Equality Impact Assessment as suggested by the Equality and Human Rights Commission
  • Improve and extend training on domestic abuse, including financial and economic abuse specifically
  • Provide a safe space for survivors to disclose abuse
  • Tackle other aspects of Universal Credit which disproportionately affect women, such as the weak gains from entering or progressing in employment for many second earners

Sarah Green, Co-Director of the End. Violence Against Women Coalition, said:

Paying all of a family’s income to an abuser is creating a new state-based barrier to seeking safety and change.

Read the report press release and read the report in full (pdf).


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