How might Universal Credit increase the risk of financial abuse?

Event Date: Wednesday 12th September 2018

House of Commons, Committee Room 12, 3.00pm – 4.30pm

Universal CreditViolence Against Women And Girls

The Women’s Budget Group (WBG), End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW) and Surviving Economic Abuse (SEA) invite you to discuss the findings of our new report:

Universal Credit and Financial Abuse: exploring the links


Date: Wednesday 12 September 2018

Time: 4pm – 5.30pm

Location: The Living Room, City Hall, The Queen’s Walk, London, SE1 2AA

Chair: Heidi Allen MP
Phillipa Whitford MP
Marilyn Howard (University of Bristol/Women’s Budget Group)
Aanya (survivor of financial abuse)

In April this year the Work and Pensions Select Committee heard evidence that the default payment of Universal Credit to a single bank account could increase women’s vulnerability to financial abuse.

Our new report Universal Credit and Financial Abuse: exploring the links concludes that:

  • The assumption that benefit paid to one account will be shared ignores evidence about financial abuse. Research shows different forms of money management can be practised within households, from pooling all income to one giving the other an allowance. Women often go without basic essentials themselves, especially where there are children and under male-controlled money management.
  • Single payments will mean that main carers (usually in practice mothers) may lose clearly-labelled child payments, which are often paid separately and can provide a lifeline to survivors.
  • Financial abuse is one aspect of economic abuse, which often occurs alongside other types of abuse such as psychological and physical. As with domestic abuse, financial abuse affects women more than men, lasts for longer and can continue post-separation. Financial abuse is not always recognised (by the survivor or by agencies) but has been a feature of successful prosecutions of controlling or coercive behaviour. The consequences of financial abuse include the survivor not being able to afford to leave an abusive partner.

Join us as we discuss the findings of the report, hear from survivors and discuss alternative policy options.

To book a place please email

View / download the full report here.

View / download the executive summary here.