Poverty and domestic violence and abuse (DVA) in the UK

Eldin Fahmy, Emma Williamson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
1421 Downloads (Pure)


This paper presents a narrative review of empirical evidence looking at connections between poverty and DVA. The findings presented includes social survey and qualitative evidence from the UK, and elsewhere where relevant, and is drawn from more than 80 research studies. The material was collated and supplemented by further secondary analysis of data collected as part of the 2012 UK Poverty and Social Exclusion Survey. Our review suggests that women experiencing poverty in the UK are more vulnerable to DVA, and this conclusion is consistent with wider international evidence. However, while associations clearly exist between poverty and DVA vulnerability, potential causal mechanisms are poorly understood and this reflects the limitations of existing data in this area. This paper highlights the need for further research exploring financial abuse within DVA relationships and post-separation financial abuse and poverty. Caution is needed in interpreting this relationship and drawing inferences for policy and practice. DVA is endemic throughout society in rich and poor countries, and interventions targeted at specific populations (including poverty) on their own are likely to be inadequate in the absence of a wider understanding of the social drivers of violence against women associated with patriarchal norms and practices in particular contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-501
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Gender-Based Violence
Issue number3
Early online date1 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


  • domestic abuse
  • domestic violence
  • policy
  • poverty
  • welfare


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