L spent eight years suffering economic abuse in a relationship. It can be hard to spot the signs of economic abuse at first. For L, her perpetrator persuaded her to sell her sports car so that she could buy a family car with him while she was pregnant. But this left her with a large loan to pay off, and no car of her own.

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L was forced to work around her partner if she wanted to access the car. If she took it without permission, he would threaten L with legal action.

Economic abuse can impact your education, training, or employment. L’s partner convinced her to work for him so that he could manipulate her wages, but then he wouldn’t pay her so that he could meet his wage targets.

She was exploited and forced to work double shifts, early starts, and late finishes. But if L complied, her life was a lot easier. This was all done to gain control.

L’s partner set up a joint account, but wouldn’t allow L access. She had to pay for all of the shopping and anything for their children from a small kitty of money she managed to keep in the kitchen. If she wanted access to money, it would only be granted after he had sexually assaulted her.

L tried to leave, but was manipulated into returning;

“I eventually left him.

And he threatened to burn all my belongings unless I went back alone to collect them.

When I got there, he locked me in the house, pinned me down hard and begged me to come back.

I thought I’d never be able to leave.”

L’s turning point was when her partner threw a phone over their toddler’s head. This was when she decided she had to go, all while fearing that she would be raped again. Before he could realise her plan, L withdrew £200 from their joint account.

In the end, that’s all L got from their relationship;

“To be free, I signed absolutely everything over to him in the divorce.

I got zero out of it. I was too scared to challenge anything.”

Like all domestic abuse, economic abuse is a form of control, but there is help and support available. “I’m free, and you can be too.

There are so many women who work beyond the call of duty to keep you safe. You’re not alone. They want you to succeed in a free life, away from abuse.

Please reach out, no matter what your abuser says.

You don’t have to live in fear anymore. You are worth so much more.”