Information pill on economic violence

From the program“Prevention and awareness of gender violence” we consider that the visibility and detection of economic violence against women as one of the types of gender violence is one of the fundamental actions to work on its prevention. Therefore, we want to offer information in a clear and visual way, to approach the concept of economic violence, to know how it is included in our legislation, to define its characteristics, to know the four types that exist, to discover its consequences and to propose solutions to this manifestation of violence against women.

What is the violence economic?

The economic violence is a type of violence against women, a tactical   of control that does not allow access to economic resources or important decisions about them.

Historically, male chauvinist and patriarchal education teaches that women are subordinate to men’s decisions, which has led, among many other things, to a very late and secondary incorporation into the labor market. This fact is the reason why men have historically been the only source of income in a family, or the strongest, in many occasions. Economic violence is manifested when the man abuses his dominant position, controlling and restricting his partner’s access to certain resources.

IN FIGURES: According to the latest Macro-survey on Violence against Women (2019), 11.5% of women, that is, 2,350,684 women residing in Spain over 16 years of age suffer, or have suffered, some episode of economic violence throughout their lives. It is important to emphasize that this is economic violence that is detected and recognized, leaving aside women who are not identified as victims because the situations they experience and expose are not considered economic violence.

Economic violence in Spanish legislation

Our country’s criminal legislation no contemplates expressly crimes of economic violence. Normally, this situation is included within other crimes that are criminalized, but certain characteristics of this manifestation of gender violence are left out. The most common is to include it within the usual mistreatment of a psychological nature, but such mistreatment does not necessarily have to exist for situations of economic violence to occur. It is important to note that situations of economic violence collide with other regulations, so that a specific fact ends up being a civil and not a criminal problem (such as, for example, transfer of debts).

The Convention of Istanbul includes in its Article 3 a direct reference to economic violence as one of the manifestations of gender-based violence. Our country ratified this convention in 2014, but its effective application in our legislation has not yet occurred.

The Law Organic 1/2004 of  Measures of Protection Integral against the Violence of Gender recognizes different manifestations of violence against women. However, it does not exclusively contemplate situations of economic violence, so neither protection measures nor the necessary resources to prevent, detect, punish and intervene in these situations are developed.

At the autonomous community level, there are certain laws that include and define economic violence as an autonomous crime against women (example: Law 13/2010 against Gender Violence in Castile and Leon, defines economic violence as “.the deprivation intentional y no justified legally from the resources required for the wellness physical o psychological from the women y from the people dependents from the same, so like the discrimination at the provision from the resources shared at the area family o from couple“).

Characteristics of economic violence

  • It is a type of gender violence, violence against women.
  • It occurs when there is a relationship of economic dependence.
  • It is very common to see this type of violence in marital relationships, both during and after the relationship.
  • It is not only within the couple; there is also economic violence by institutions against women, not responding to situations of economic vulnerability.
  • The dominant subjugates the victim by using this economically privileged position and abusing it.
  • It occurs through restrictions, control, reproaches and other acts in which the dominant tries to subdue the victim through money.
  • It has psychological, social, emotional and even physical effects on the victim and her family.
  • Economic violence is usually, but not necessarily, accompanied by other manifestations of violence against women (psychological and even physical violence).

Types of economic violence

  • Economic control: the abuser decides what the money is spent on and demands explanations of how it has been spent.
  • Economic exploitation: the abuser makes large expenditures without the victim’s consent, adding debts, generating credits in the victim’s name, etc. This type of economic violence includes the non-payment of child support for children in common.
  • Sabotage labor: the abuser does not allow the victim to develop professionally or work directly, preventing her from having an independent source of economic resources.

Consequences of the violence economic

→ A level individual

The main consequence of economic violence is to prevent the victim from being able to move away from the abusive relationship, that is, to continue creating dependency. Not being financially self-sufficient, she faces several barriers to ending the relationship. In addition, these financial problems can lead to problems in the victim’s health mental , beyond the physical health, due to the constant stress to which she is exposed. This leads to a greater likelihood of experiencing depression and anxiety, among other emotional problems. Finally, this type of violence can escalate and lead to other types of abuse, and vice versa: many victims of economic violence are, or have been, victims of other manifestations of gender-based violence.

→ A level familiar

In the case of child witnesses and victims of economic violence, this can have different consequences on their personal, family, social and emotional development. There may be problematic manifestations of temperament, social competence and even important problems in the maternal-filial relationship, since in many circumstances the victim tends to be blamed for the situation. It is important to point out that the economic poverty to which women victims of economic violence are condemned is also suffered directly by their children.

→ A level social

Concerns about economic stability, as well as the impediment to women’s inclusion in the labor market, constitute at the same time a major obstacle for women. inequality economic and labor itself. This has a very high cost in medical and psychological health services, in addition to making it impossible to access a decent retirement or other types of social income.

Solutions to situations of economic violence

  • Prevention: First of all, it is necessary to emphasize that the first solution to the different situations of economic violence is prevention, translated into the necessary economic and financial autonomy and decision-making capacity, which offers as a result a correct financial education. There are several strategies that we can take into account to establish a correct economic and financial family relationship, such as, for example:
    • Both persons should have access to money without having to ask for permission, and will be responsible for their income and expenses jointly.
    • Long-term financial decisions (such as buying a house, or applying for a loan) are also made together.
    • Be fully aware of the content of documents that are signed both individually and jointly.
    • Know where the financial documentation that affects both of you, such as rental agreements, mortgage, loans, etc., is located.
  • Intervention: What to do in the face of a situation of economic violence that is already occurring? The first step is identify that situation, know why it is happening and what are its causes. The second step is count it. It is important to go to services legal and/or social   specialized that can put the situation in context and offer solutions to get out of it. In case you are in a situation of violence, you can ask for help, legal assistance or information free of charge and confidentially at the phone 016, by e-mail and telephone 900 116 016 for the hearing impaired.

In all cities and municipalities of the national territory, there are Centers of Action Social to which you can go for initial social assistance as well as for legal advice and psychological assistance. In addition, there are NGOs specialized in legal support for victims of economic violence, as well as in the prevention of this type of situation.

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