Community and citizenship: Nicola Sharp-Jeffs

Community and citizenship: Nicola Sharp-Jeffs

Community and citizenship: Nicola Sharp-Jeffs

Introduction

Economic abuse is a common form of control that domestic abusers use over their victims. One in five British women have experienced economic abuse in a current or former relationship, and 95% of women who experience domestic abuse report experiencing economic abuse.

“My Fellowship enabled me to influence national legislation and create a framework." - Nicola Sharp-Jeffs, Fellow

Charity founder Nicola Sharp-Jeffs (CF 2016) set up Surviving Economic Abuse (SEA) as a direct result of her Fellowship. It is the only UK charity dedicated to raising awareness of economic abuse and transforming responses to it. In 2017, she successfully influenced legislation in Parliament, so that the Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill included economic abuse within the statutory definition of domestic abuse. The UK Government went on to fund work on economic abuse, including a support service for banks and building societies, enabling SEA to work with firms in their implementation of the UK Finance Code of Practice on Financial Abuse which SEA advised on the development of.

In 2017 SEA was successful in securing a three-year grant from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to set up the Economic Justice Project. This brings together domestic abuse charities and money and debt advice charities to support women whose partners have taken out loans or credit in their names, whether fraudulently or through coercion. This led the Money and Pensions Service to pilot an Economic Abuse Evidence Form for advocacy with creditors, which was launched in January 2020. More recently, SEA successfully called for an amendment to the Bill to broaden the scope of the controlling or coercive behaviour offence within the Serious Crime Act (2015), so that the law recognises post-separation abuse. The UK Government announced its support for this on 1 March 2021 and is now working with SEA on implementation.

Prior to her Fellowship, Nicola had been researching economic abuse for nearly a decade. She had spoken to hundreds of domestic abuse survivors and understood that economic abuse was a barrier to them leaving abusive partners. Nicola’s Fellowship investigated ways of supporting survivors of financial abuse (a sub-category of economic abuse) in Australia and the USA.

Nicola says, “My Fellowship enabled me to influence national legislation and create a framework through which to respond to economic abuse. It has validated the experience of millions of women and transformed responses to them.”

“My Fellowship enabled me to influence national legislation and create a framework." - Nicola Sharp-Jeffs, Fellow

Charity founder Nicola Sharp-Jeffs (CF 2016) set up Surviving Economic Abuse (SEA) as a direct result of her Fellowship. It is the only UK charity dedicated to raising awareness of economic abuse and transforming responses to it. In 2017, she successfully influenced legislation in Parliament, so that the Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill included economic abuse within the statutory definition of domestic abuse. The UK Government went on to fund work on economic abuse, including a support service for banks and building societies, enabling SEA to work with firms in their implementation of the UK Finance Code of Practice on Financial Abuse which SEA advised on the development of.

In 2017 SEA was successful in securing a three-year grant from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to set up the Economic Justice Project. This brings together domestic abuse charities and money and debt advice charities to support women whose partners have taken out loans or credit in their names, whether fraudulently or through coercion. This led the Money and Pensions Service to pilot an Economic Abuse Evidence Form for advocacy with creditors, which was launched in January 2020. More recently, SEA successfully called for an amendment to the Bill to broaden the scope of the controlling or coercive behaviour offence within the Serious Crime Act (2015), so that the law recognises post-separation abuse. The UK Government announced its support for this on 1 March 2021 and is now working with SEA on implementation.

Prior to her Fellowship, Nicola had been researching economic abuse for nearly a decade. She had spoken to hundreds of domestic abuse survivors and understood that economic abuse was a barrier to them leaving abusive partners. Nicola’s Fellowship investigated ways of supporting survivors of financial abuse (a sub-category of economic abuse) in Australia and the USA.

Nicola says, “My Fellowship enabled me to influence national legislation and create a framework through which to respond to economic abuse. It has validated the experience of millions of women and transformed responses to them.”