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Understanding Economic Abuse Across the Globe

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2021
1 page

This study examined 46 peer-reviewed articles from six continents (18 countries) in determining how global literature defines and measures economic or financial abuse. 


A total of 26 articles discussed but did not provide clear definitions of economic abuse or the tactics used in economic abuse; 17 articles used measures that encompassed all three constructs for economic abuse, i.e., economic control, economic exploitation, and employment sabotage. Measures of economic abuse used in studies of intimate partner violence (IPV) may include forms of economic or financial abuse; however, these articles may not identify such abuse as a focus of the study, so they do not address the scope, complexity, or magnitude of economic abuse in IPV. Other researchers included questions on economic abuse without identifying it as such. Other questions that touch upon economic abuse are often integrated into emotional or psychological abuse scales or subscales. Overall, there is inconsistency in definitions of economic abuse within the United States and globally, meaning there is no consensus for the measurement of economic abuse. This lack of clarity in defining economic abuse makes it difficult to determine whether service and policy responses are appropriately addressing this aspect of IPV, if at all.

Date Published: July 22, 2021