My money, my life – economic abuse

Refuge, in partnership with The Co-operative Bank, launched the powerful ‘My money, my life’ campaign to shine a spotlight on this often-overlooked form of domestic abuse and call for industry-wide agreement to support people who experience financial abuse in their relationships.

Key findings from this study include:

  • One in five people in the UK have experienced financial abuse in an intimate relationship
  • 60% of all cases are reported by women
  • 78% of women saying their abuse went on over five years compared to 23% of men
  • For women, financial abuse rarely happens in isolation – 86% experience other forms of abuse
  • A third of financial abuse victims suffer in silence, telling no-one*

Campaign progress

On 10 October 2018, UK Finance launched a new Financial Abuse Code of Practice to better help economic abuse victims get the support they need from their financial service provider. We are proud that ‘My money, my life’ has highlighted the scale of economic abuse and contributed to the introduction of this new initiative.

Since the launch of ‘My money, my life’, the Government has, for the first time, proposed to include economic abuse in the definition of domestic abuse in the forthcoming Domestic Abuse Bill. Recognising economic abuse as a form of domestic abuse in legislation will have a significant effect on raising awareness and understanding of this form of abuse.

Refuge’s experience supporting more than 6,000 survivors a day has shown that economic abuse is almost always perpetrated alongside other forms of abuse as part of a pattern of coercive control and can have devastating consequences.

Whilst there is much more to be done to prevent economic abuse and support survivors, the UK Finance Code of Practice is a huge step forward in recognising both the immense scale of economic abuse in the UK and the vital role the banking sector can play in protecting victims.

What we did

research thumbnailNew national research

Refuge and The Co-operative Bank joined forces to carry out the UK’s largest study to date – led by academic Nicola Sharp-Jeffs at the Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit, London Metropolitan University – to uncover the true scale of financial abuse in relationships.

Support for women

Refuge produced a financial guide for women experiencing abuse, giving practical information on their rights and empowering them to make positive choices about their financial futures. The guide has been distributed throughout Refuge’s services and is online, so anybody can access it.

bills smallSector-wide change

Refuge is working with The Co-operative Bank to drive change across the banking sector, so that staff know how to support customers who may be experiencing financial abuse. Currently, we are consulting with the British Bankers’ Association on what a ‘Code of Practice’ would look like.

my money my life coverage thumnRaising awareness

‘My money, my life’ got extensive national coverage when it launched in December 2015 – including in major broadsheets and on BBC Breakfast – and continues to attract media attention. The Trades Union Congress (TUC) and Citizens Advice also gave supportive statements about the campaign.


Campaign video with Lauren Laverne

*All findings from ‘Money Matters’, written for The Co-operative Bank and Refuge by Nicola Sharp-Jeffs