Most people considering whether they may be the victim of domestic abuse think of verbal abuse or physical assault. However, research shows that financial abuse occurs just as frequently in unhealthy relationships as other forms of abuse. In a study conducted by the Center for Financial Security they found that 99% of domestic violence cases involved financial abuse. Knowing how to identify this can be critical to your safety and security.
How to identify financial abuse in a relationship
You may be in a financial abusive relationship if your partner:-
- Gives you an “allowance” or “budget” without your input.
- Requires you to account for everything you spend.
- Restricts your ability to acquire, use and maintain financial resources.
- Limits your access to your own bank account or mutual bank accounts.
- Prevents you from working.
- Creates financial uncertainty so you feel “trapped” in a relationship.
- Threatens to cut you off financially when you disagree.
- Uses funds from children’s savings without mutual agreement.
- Ruins your credit history or spends on credit cards in your name without contributing.
- Exerts an entitlement to your money or assets.
- Interferes with your finances such as controlling your budget or financial decisions.
- Controls shared assets and resources, hides assets, or refuses to share financial information with you.
How to get help
- Protect your personal information – contact your bank or credit card company and ask them to change your access details.
- Access your credit report – check the other person hasn’t opened any other lines of credit.
- Prepare for the future – if you cannot leave immediately take preventative measures to regain control of your finances.
- Find support – talk to trusted loved ones who can provide support, care and encouragement and may be able to offer resources if you decide to end the relationship.
The impact of financial abuse can be felt long after you’ve left an abusive situation. If you have left, or are considering leaving an unhealthy relationship it is important to seek the appropriate support and advice to plan for the future and ensure that you receive a fair entitlement to enable you to properly review your financial position and any joint assets to secure a financial settlement on separation or divorce that enables you to meet yours and your family’s income and capital needs.