Disentangling and Preventing Economic Violence against Women (ECOVI)

Project Description

Violence against women is a violation of fundamental human rights and substantially compromises women’s health, wellbeing, and empowerment. Globally, more than one in four women experience physical and/or sexual violence by a partner in their lives. This risk is considerably higher among women in low- and middle-income countries and in cultures with pronounced patriarchal gender norms. However, existing research has so far neglected an important dimension of intimate partner violence (IPV): economic abuse. This form of abuse includes denying women the right to participate in financial decisions, taking away their income or preventing them from seeking employment. The consequences are profound – economic IPV compromises women’s economic welfare and independence, traps them in abusive relationships, and adversely affects their mental health. To tackle this major global health concern, ECOVI has three objectives: first, to establish the prevalence of different forms of economic IPV; second, to develop a theory of economic abuse by investigating drivers of economic IPV and linkages with other forms of IPV; and third, to design and test a community-based prevention approach. To this end, I will focus on India, which is home to 670 million women and girls and exhibits high levels of gender discrimination that exacerbate women’s vulnerability to economic IPV. I will capitalise on a mixed-methods approach, including (i) systematic reviews and meta-analyses, (ii) conducting qualitative in-depth interviews and focus groups, and (iii) implementing a cluster randomised controlled trial and innovative survey experiments with husbands and wives in 150 Indian communities. ECOVI will generate the largest existing database on economic IPV and establish an evidence-informed prevention approach. This has the potential to yield ground-breaking scientific and programmatic evidence on how to alleviate the economic violence and associated economic hardship that women worldwide are facing.



  • Rucha Vasumati Satish (Freelance Research Consultant)
  • Siuli Mukhopadhyay (Professor, Department of Mathematics, IIT Bombay)

 The project is funded by an European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant.

Project Publication

Steinert JI, Boehret I, Vasumati Satish R, Sharma S, Chatterji S. ‘We don’t get money in our own hands’: evidence from focus group discussions on economic abuse against women in two states of IndiaBMJ Global Health. 2023; 8(10), e012576.