London Met academic named Charity Times Rising Star of the Year

Dr Nicola Sharps-Jeff, emeritus fellow of CWASU and CEO of Surviving Economic Abuse, was recognised for her impact in raising awareness and transforming responses to economic abuse.

Date: 14 September 2021

London Met's Dr Nicola Sharp-Jeffs has recently won the Charity Times Rising Leader of the Year Award in recognition of her impact as CEO of the organisation Surviving Economic Abuse (SEA).

Nicola is an Emeritus Fellow at the University's Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit (CWASU), which focuses on conducting independent feminist research that creates useful knowledge for policy makers, practitioners, survivors, supporters and activists. She is also a graduate of London Met's Woman and Child Abuse MA.

SEA was set up in 2017 in response to Dr Sharp-Jeffs' determination to raise awareness of economic abuse in the UK. The charity, which is the only one in the UK to raise awareness of economic abuse and transform responses to it, has gone from strength to strength, and SEA's work has been highlighted on BBC Breakfast, the New York Times and The Guardian, to name a few. Nicola was awarded an OBE in 2020 for her services to victims of domestic and economic abuse.

Nicola works tirelessly to raise awareness of economic abuse, and has led the SEA team to drive systems change and make sure survivors' voices are heard at the highest levels. This has included the following achievements:

  • Ensuring economic abuse was included within the statutory definition of domestic abuse for the first time as part of the new Domestic Abuse Act, as well as successfully calling for legislation on controlling or coercive behaviour to be extended to post-separation abuse.
  • Contributing to the working group which developed the UK Finance Financial Abuse Code of Practice, launched in October 2018. To support institutions in implementing the code Nicola developed a banking strand of work within SEA, holding a banking conference to engage the industry, and launching an award to recognise best practice within financial services.
  • Working alongside financial institutions, many of which have now set up specialist economic abuse teams to ensure they provide an effective response.
  • Inviting women who had experienced economic abuse to work alongside SEA to create change. This group has now grown to over 100 victim-survivors of economic abuse who inform all of SEA's work.

She said, "It's an honour to have received this award given such an impressive shortlist. Huge congratulations to my fellow nominees.   

"I'd like to thank the dream team which is SEA, our Trustees and partners for their support, and to the women we work alongside who inspire me day in and day out." 

SEA were also nominated for the Charity Collaboration of the Year for their partnership with Money Advice Plus (MAP) and for the Best Use of Technology for their Economic Abuse guide.

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