Experiences of Economic Abuse in the Community: Listening to Survivor Voicesedit
Economic abuse (EA) comprises tactics of intimate partner violence (IPV) which undermine survivors’ economic self-sufficiency and self-efficacy. Evidence is strong that survivors of IPV who have accessed formal services have experienced a wide range of EA tactics. However, there remains a gap in our understanding of EA experiences for survivors who have not sought IPV services. Thus, this article presents the findings of qualitative interviews with a group of women attending community college (n = 20) who screened as having experienced intimate partner violence in their current or most recent relationship but who have never sought formal IPV services. Four themes emerged: (1) economic control, (2) economic exploitation, (3) economic manipulation, and (4) the economics of safety. The voices of these survivors highlight how EA is a critical issue for social workers in IPV service agencies, along with those who interact with IPV survivors in a range of other settings. Empowering social workers to identify the tactics and impacts of EA could lead interventions aimed at supporting survivors and begin undoing the economics of abuse.