According to a 2004 British Crime Survey, almost one in every two women who’ve experienced domestic violence have also suffered financial abuse; of course suffering financial abuse is not limited to just females.
Financial abuse, as it does not involve physical violence or threats, is a much more subtle form of domestic abuse and a lot of people experiencing it will not even realise that this is a factor of their relationship. It is one of the most frequent ways that perpetrators exercise a significant level of control over their partners and enables them to be able to restrict their partner’s movements and keep tabs on their lives.
Financial abuse can involve various controlling behaviours including restricting access to funds and bank accounts, your partner building up debt in your name or refusing to provide any financial information about the family finances. This can mean people are left in the dark about their financial situation and feel isolated and demeaned by having no money to use of their own.
This is also an extremely controlling method of abuse as victims are often unable to consider leaving the relationship as they do not have the financial knowledge or means to be able to support themselves and their children independently. A lot of people therefore feel there is no alternative but to remain in an abusive relationship.
Everybody has the right to be in control of their own personal finances. There are steps that can be taken to extricate your finances from those of your partner, accounts can be opened with new banks, wages or benefits can be paid into different accounts and there are crisis loans available for those in immediate need. The Money Advice Service also offer practical tips in helping to recover from financial abuse.
If you have concerns or worries in this area, please do not hesitate to seek help for yourself. Financial abuse is a form of domestic abuse and there are many domestic abuse organisations that can help in these circumstances.
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