Just because a partner isn’t physically violent towards you, it doesn’t mean they aren’t abusive in other ways. Watch out for these signs of financial abuse. 

According to a study by domestic violence charity Refuge and The Co-operative Bank, one in five women and one in seven men have experienced financial abuse in a relationship.

And it can happen to anyone—regardless of your age, income, religion, race or sexual orientation—leaving you feeling isolated, lacking in confidence and trapped. Financial abuse is now recognised in law as a form of domestic abuse and is seen as a criminal offence.

 

What counts as financial abuse?

Typical behaviours can include:

  • Stopping you from getting (or keeping) a job
  • Making you hand over your wages
  • Making you ask your partner—or others—for money
  • Not allowing you to spend on yourself or your kids
  • Controlling your bank account
  • Stealing, taking or demanding money from you
  • Making you account for every penny you spend—by showing receipts, for example
  • Running up debts in your name
  • Controlling your access to money to prevent you escaping the abuse

 

What you can do if you feel you or someone you know is being financially abused

Everyone has the right to financial independence—so if you notice any of these signs in your relationship or in a friend’s, there’s help at hand.

These organisations support victims of domestic abuse. They’re trained to help you regain control of your finances, as well as helping you rebuild your emotional health.

Talk to someone:

  • Women’s Aid (England): 0808 2000 247 
  • Women’s Aid (Wales): 0808 8010 800 
  • Women’s Aid (Northern Ireland): 0808 802 1414
  • Women’s Aid (Scotland): 0808 027 1234 
  • Men’s Advice Line: 0808 8010 327

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