Skip to main content

Surviving Economic Abuse & TSB highlight importance of Flee Funds, as victim-survivors' finances can be perilous

20th March 2024

  • Charities Money Advice Plus and Surviving Economic Abuse find that 91% of domestic abuse victim-survivors have less than £100 at the end of each month
  • Almost half (47%) have a negative balance
  • TSB & Surviving Economic Abuse remind victim-survivors of Flee Fund payments
  • Almost 250 people have received Flee Fund payments since launch in December 2022
  • Scotland has seen most Flee Fund take-up, followed by London, and the South East

During Debt Awareness Week, Surviving Economic Abuse (SEA) and TSB are spotlighting the importance of flee funds in supporting victim survivors of domestic abuse.

Led by Stepchange, ‘Debt Awareness Week’ shines a light on the causes for problem debt and the issues faced by individuals across the UK. A growing issue is coerced debt caused by perpetrators of economic abuse – that can strip victims of financial control and trap them with an abuser.

SEA finds that over nine in 10 (91%)1 victim-survivors who have contacted the Money Advice Plus National Financial Support Line service had less than £100 at the end of the month. Alarmingly, almost half (47%) had a negative balance, meaning they are unable to cover basic living costs.

To help provide emergency funds to individuals escaping an abuser, TSB launched its own Flee Fund scheme in December 2022 to provide payments of up to £500 for victim-survivors of domestic abuse in a moment of crisis. TSB’s specially trained branch colleagues are equipped to spot signs of domestic abuse and assess the necessary level of support.

Since then, the bank has helped 249 individuals2 with payments of £315 on average. Food (29%), accommodation (28%), clothing (18%) and travel (16%) were the areas where funds were used. Of those who have received a fund, 41% were fleeing with one or more children.

Scotland has seen the most take-up of the fund, with 41 victim-survivors receiving money. London (35), the South East (32), Yorkshire & the Humber (29) and the North West (26) followed.

Nicola Sharp Jeffs, CEO and founder of Surviving Economic Abuse said:

“Coercing a victim-survivor into debt is a devastating form of economic abuse. Abusers often make victim-survivors take out loans against their wishes, put bills in their name or use their credit card without their knowledge. Crushing debt repayments and damaged credit scores can keep victim-survivors financially tied to the abuser long after separation; many survivors are left homeless and destitute as a result of the abuse, unable to rent or own property or even take out a mobile phone contract.

“Control over money is crucial to a survivor’s ability to rebuild their lives, which is why TSB’s Flee Fund is so vital. Specialist economic advocacy support, bringing together domestic abuse support with specialist money, debt, and benefits advice, would go even further in enabling survivors to maximise their income and safely separate all their finances and assets from an abuser.”

Karen Perrier, Chief Executive of Money Advice Plus said:

“We’re experiencing consistently high demand on the Financial Support Line, with a frightening number of victim-survivors left at the end of each month without enough money to live off, let alone escape an abuser. Many have huge debts they are struggling to pay off - worryingly, a high proportion of these are priority debts meaning that they are at risk of being made homeless or having their utilities cut off. Initiatives like TSB’s Flee Fund have never been more needed for survivors who do not have control over their own money.”

Kate Osiadacz, Head of Responsible Business, TSB, said:

“Economic abuse can leave people’s finances in a perilous way, and trap individuals in dangerous and abusive situations.

“Since launching our Flee Fund we have seen first-hand the vital role this money plays in helping victim-survivors escape an abuser – and on Debt Awareness Week we want to remind people we are here to help.”


Notes to editors

TSB operates Safe Spaces online and in branch: TSB becomes first bank to offer Safe Spaces for victims of domestic abuse

In January 2024, the government announced a flee fund scheme: Domestic abuse victims given fresh support to escape abuse - GOV.UK (

1 Data taken from the National Financial Support Line casework service for victims of domestic abuse, run by SEA’s frontline partner Money Advice Plus showed that 91% of casework clients had less than £100 at the end of the month, with 47% of casework clients having a negative budget (2023)

2 Internal data from TSB since launching the Flee Fund in December 2022

Full regional breakdown of Flee Fund use since December 2022


No. of Flee Fund payments to individuals





South East


Yorkshire & The Humber


North West


West Midlands


East of England


North East


South West




East Midlands