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Economic violence is a common and widespread practice throughout the world, which particularly affects women. This type of violence is often underestimated, as it is more subtle and difficult to detect than physical or sexual violence. Yet the consequences are just as severe, directly affecting women's economic and social lives.

Psychological, sexual, physical, administrative and economic violence: violence against women takes many forms. However, economic violence remains largely unidentified and unrecognised because it is often masked by other forms of violence.

In the context of domestic violence, economic violence can take different forms and is part of the abuser’s strategy of exerting permanent financial control over the victim, which can go as far as the total dispossession of her resources.

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  • Deprivation of resources: demand money under threat, using a bank card without consent, transferring money from the victim’s account without their consent; dispossession of a bank card.


  • Obstacles to financial autonomy: limiting their access to financial resources, sabotaging professional opportunities, forced indebtedness, etc.


  • Controlling expenditure: monitoring the victim’s bank and/or administrative accounts, exclusive control over the couple’s financial decisions, prohibiting purchases, including food for the wife and children, giving a limited amount of money for specific purchases, monitoring bills;


  • Economic blackmail: threatening financial retaliation if the victim does not meet certain demands, including sexual blackmail or sexual violence.

Economic domestic violence can take other forms, for example, control over personal and professional life, being forbidden to work, limiting access to administrative information by lying about the household situation, impersonation by using the victim’s administrative information to assume her identity in order to obtain bank loans in her name. In many cases, these aggressors do everything in their power to make themselves insolvent, in order to keep women in a situation of dependence and isolation. After the break-up, this violence can continue through non-payment of child support or joint and several debts contracted by the violent partner.

Economic violence plunges women into precariousness

Economic violence refers to a series of controlling behaviours that have serious consequences for women’s daily lives. This violence has significant repercussions, particularly in terms of precariousness, poverty and social exclusion. Women who are victims often find themselves in situations where they are deprived of economic resources, making it difficult for them to provide for their most basic needs.


These forms of economic violence can also restrict women’s access to essential services such as healthcare and education. When faced with economic hardship, women may be forced to make difficult choices, such as forgoing medical care or quality education for themselves or their children.

In addition, women who suffer economic violence are often trapped and maintained in violent relationships because they are financially dependent on their spouse or family. This financial dependence can prevent them from leaving or seeking help, as they fear losing their economic support or not being able to provide for themselves and their families.

A few examples of initiatives in Seine Saint-Denis

Seine-Saint-Denis is a French department where economic violence against women is particularly prevalent. In 2019, SOS Femmes 93 reported that 56% of women in shelters for whom information was available had been victims of economic violence. In response to this problem, public policies and measures have been put in place to protect women and enable them to regain their financial independence.

One example is the “A roof for her” scheme, which aims to improve the flow of specialised accommodation for women victims of violence and provide long-term security for women in danger who have been identified by the justice system. Women housed under the ” A roof for her ” scheme have often suffered economic violence in their past, whether at the hands of their violent partner, their employer, or as a result of precarious situations that have exposed them to financial difficulties. By providing secure accommodation and offering resources to help women become economically independent, this scheme aims to break the cycle of economic violence and help women regain their financial independence.

It is also important to highlight the work of local civil society, in particular the actions of the CIDFF de Seine-Saint-Denis, an association working to promote equality between women and men. The CIDFF offers one-to-one support, legal advice and tailored training to help women overcome the obstacles associated with the economic violence they suffer. The association works closely with local partners, such as employers, training centres and reintegration organisations. By focusing on building professional skills, making the most of acquired experience and raising employers’ awareness of the problem of economic violence, the Seine Saint-Denis CIDFF plays an essential role in the fight against precariousness and the empowerment of women victims.

In conclusion, economic violence against women is a worrying reality worldwide. These insidious forms of violence compromise women’s financial autonomy and hinder their personal development. To combat this phenomenon, we need to raise public awareness, put in place public protection and support policies, and strengthen international cooperation on this specific issue.

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