Universal Credit and Financial Abuse of Women: Exploring the Links


Women's Budget Group

Publication date: 

24th Jun 2018

“More money may go straight into wallet and not in the purse, leaving women and children with no income”
As Universal Credit continues to roll out nationally, the Women’s Budget Group, End Violence Against Women Coalition and Surviving Economic Abuse have published a new report which raises concerns that Universal Credit payments which are paid into one bank account for everyone in the household, rather than individual accounts, risk giving more power to abusers in homes where women are domestic violence.

The new report, Universal Credit and Financial Abuse: Exploring the links’, says it is critical that this huge change in the welfare system is checked for its potential impact on women who are being abused, especially when domestic abuse is known to be an extremely widespread crime.

The report argues that that the single payment could result in less equal couple relationships, and risks further financial abuse. The reduction of women’s financial autonomy could result in main carers (usually in practice mothers) losing clearly-labelled child payments, which currently are often paid separately and can provide a lifeline to survivors of domestic abuse.

Mary-Ann Stephenson, Director of the Women’s Budget Group said:

“We know that income is not always shared equally in households. Combining payments for housing, job seeking and children, that have to date been separate, risks giving abusive men even more power and control over their partners. It may send more money than ever straight to wallet and not to purse, undermining women’s economic independence and their ability to leave abusive relationships. We welcome the decision of the Scottish Government to allow for separate payments as a matter of course, and call on Westminster to do the same.”