To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department has taken to safeguard domestic abuse victims against financial abuse in the event that they have a joint bank account with a perpetrator.
10 September 2021
All forms of domestic abuse are unacceptable, and no one should have to suffer financially at the hands of their perpetrator.
The landmark Domestic Abuse Act became law in April 2021, and created for the first-time a general purpose legal definition of domestic abuse which incorporates a range of abuses beyond physical violence, including economic abuse. This recognition will improve understanding among frontline professionals, law enforcement officers and prosecutors so that victims can be better supported.
The Home Office supports and funds organisations that raise awareness of economic abuse and support victims. This includes providing £567k of funding between 2018-2022 to the charity Surviving Economic Abuse, which provides emotional and practical support targeted at victims of economic abuse.
In recognition of the role that financial services have to play in responding to domestic abuse, in 2018 UK Finance and the Building Societies Association introduced a Financial Abuse Code of Practice. The voluntary Code of Practice sets out how participating banks and building societies should support customers who are victims of domestic and financial or economic abuse. We are building on this by working to encourage banks and the wider financial services sector to improve the support provided to victims of domestic abuse accessing their services; help victims move forward to escape debt, joint accounts, and mortgages.
We will continue to work alongside financial institutions and frontline agencies to raise awareness and improve support for victims of economic abuse.