1 in 3 employees have experienced domestic abuse during the past 12 months. 

Employers have a unique role to play in responding to domestic abuse – it can happen to anyone and it is everyone’s business. 

Hestia’s Everyone’s Business Programme supports employers to put in place a robust and well-rounded response to domestic abuse and sexual violence for employees. 

According to Surviving Economic Abuse, a UK charity dedicated to raising awareness of economic abuse and 1 in 6 women have experienced economic abuse by either a current or former partner. “Economic abuse rarely happens in isolation; it normally happens alongside other forms of domestic abuse.”

For Sonia, it was her partner who she had come to trust that betrayed her and managed to access her bank cards and details after which she became anxious, depressed and felt guilty that she had let someone into her life like that. Until one day Sonia saw a poster at work advertising our service. 

At the start, when I met Tariq I was so happy - he appeared very genuine and caring. Really charming. But then, our relationship began to change.  

We met at a family wedding, I was a full-time student and worked part-time. He said that because he was an international student, he couldn’t work or access any grants or benefits. He would frequently take money from me, and even asked for designer gifts. If I refused to buy him stuff – he would make me feel guilty. He started to tell me that because I had PTSD, I shouldn’t be in charge of finances. 

I trusted him, but he used this to get access to all my bank cards and details. I started getting suspicious when I received a notice requesting a final payment on a loan I knew nothing about. I was in shock. I automatically assumed some kind of fraud must have taken place as I knew nothing about these payments nor had I seen any previous letters about them. It turned out later that he’d taken out a loan in my name. I was so scared. I could not afford any additional financial commitments, as I was a full time student. I felt frightened of what might happen if I didn't make these payments and I became very anxious and depressed.  

I thought that being in a relationship was about sharing and helping with financial commitments. But my friends helped me to realise that what he was doing was abusive. I started looking online and found out that economic abuse is part of domestic abuse. 

I also felt worthless and guilty for letting Tariq into my life in the first place – self blaming, like it was my fault. I was embarrassed to ask my friends and family for help. No-one knew what was going on but finally, I confided in my friends: Sara & Nadia, who encouraged me to leave Tariq. 

I thought that being in a relationship was about sharing and helping with financial commitments. But my friends helped me to realise that what he was doing was abusive. I started looking online and found out that economic abuse is part of domestic abuse. 

With [Hestia's] advice and support, I finally had the courage to report what was happening to my bank and to the police.  

I came across a poster at work for Hestia’s Independent Domestic Violence Advocate (IDVA) service, and gave them a call. With their advice and support, I finally had the courage to report what was happening to my bank and to the police.  

My IDVA supported me with emotional and safety planning whilst I was still in the relationship with Tariq. They also supported me with talking to the police and signposted me to a specialist debt management agency.  

Without the support of my IDVA and my friends, I would not have been able to end the relationship with Tariq. I am now regaining my confidence, starting to pay off the debts with a financial management plan and am finally rebuilding my life and looking forward to a future without debt. 


Our team offers training, support with policy development, consultation, and bespoke tailored support packages for your employees from our expert team of domestic abuse and sexual violence specialists.  

When employers take action and respond to #domesticabuse, we know it saves lives. It is vital that every employee can access specialist domestic abuse support. 

If you are an employer looking for advice on how to respond to a disclosure of domestic abuse from an employee, or looking for other advice and guidance around supporting employees affected by domestic abuse, contact the Respond to Abuse Advice Line for free on 0203 879 3695 or via email [email protected] between 8am-5pm Monday to Friday for support. 

Data sources: ONS, 2019; Vodafone Foundation, 2021; Home Office, 2019; Home Office, 2022. 

Surviving Economic Abuse, https://survivingeconomicabuse.org/about-us/ Accessed 03/08/2023.