Financial Abuse

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Domestic violence can take many forms and it is important to recognise that financial abuse can be one of them. Financial abuse may or may not be linked to physical abuse and can be hard to detect by others. Lurking inside what appears from the outside to be a normal relationship may be controlling and threatening behaviour which is psychologically damaging. Victims in such relationships are often too ashamed to speak about what is happening to them, and in some cases may not even recognise that the way they are being treated is neither normal nor acceptable. Financial abuse can occur across all socio-economic groups. It can take many forms:

  • Intense monitoring of money spent, which can be followed by criticism or punishment for spending without approval or not being able to account for where the money has gone
  • Excessive control of income or assets by one partner, leaving the other with either a small allowance or limited access to money
  • Threats of leaving knowing that the remaining partner has no means of supporting themselves
  • Forced career choice, including restricted work hours and forced refusal of promotions or training opportunities
  • Forced signatures on legal documents pertaining to borrowing money or purchasing significant assets, often involving significant financial risk
  • Spending large amounts of money without consultation, which may leave insufficient for necessities or increased financial stress
  • Denied access to financial records or certain bank accounts

Any person who believes they may be experiencing these forms of abuse should seek advice from someone they trust. None of these behaviours are acceptable in a relationship. Perpetrators of financial abuse usually have deep psychological issues, however they are unlikely to deal with these if their behaviour is tolerated by others. Family members, friends and employers should watch carefully for abusive behaviour and provide support

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