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Government introduces tool to combat domestic economic abuse

Government introduces tool to combat domestic economic abuse


The interactive guide aims to aid businesses, charities in spotting economic abuse, coinciding with £12M support.

Amidst the festive season, which often sees an unfortunate surge in domestic abuse cases, the UK government has taken a significant step by launching an interactive tool aimed at assisting businesses and charities in identifying and addressing instances of domestic economic abuse.

Reports to police forces in England and Wales concerning domestic abuse have historically surged around Christmas, with a notable 25% increase during this period. Statistics reveal that every hour, police receive over 100 calls linked to domestic abuse, and a striking 95% of victims experience economic abuse.

The newly introduced tool, accessible on GOV.UK, targets call handlers in organizations, empowering them to recognize signs of abuse when dealing with customers or clients. Partnering with specialist charities like Surviving Economic Abuse, the initiative aims to provide training to organizations seeking to utilize the tool effectively.

Nigel Huddleston, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, stressed the importance of not only making economic abuse punishable by law but also extending substantial support to help victims escape dangerous situations. The toolkit is a testament to this commitment, aimed at facilitating a swift end to domestic abuse within homes.

This initiative follows the government's pledge in the summer to develop an interactive resource aiding trained advisors in recognizing and addressing economic abuse. Collaborating closely with Surviving Economic Abuse and other stakeholders, HMRC orchestrated workshops with charities and financial services firms to refine the tool and ensure its effectiveness.

The interactive guide prompts trained call handlers to navigate through a series of responses to help pinpoint potential victims. This process not only aids in identifying victims but also assists in determining appropriate assistance and provides information about relevant charities and support networks.

Coinciding with the tool's launch is a £12 million allocation, announced in the Autumn Statement, aimed at supporting charities working with domestic abuse victims. This funding strives to combat abuse and aid survivors in rebuilding their lives.

Dr. Nicola Sharp-Jeffs OBE, CEO and founder of Surviving Economic Abuse, emphasized the severe impact of economic abuse on victims and their ability to rebuild their lives. She stressed the importance of a supportive response from all quarters where victims seek help, emphasizing the life-changing impact of the right support.

Surviving Economic Abuse research reveals that an alarming one in five women in the UK have experienced economic abuse within the last year. Furthermore, their studies indicate a concerning increase in survivors reaching out for help during the pandemic, with many seeking assistance related to welfare benefits.

Addressing domestic abuse is a governmental priority, with recognition of economic abuse now embedded in law within the Domestic Abuse Act 2021. This acknowledgement highlights the devastating repercussions it inflicts on victims' lives and underscores the need for a collective effort in combatting this form of abuse.

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