Financial Abuse Signs: What to Look Out For
In January of this year, the UK government published a new draft domestic abuse bill.
One significant change that the draft bill has made is that the legal definition of domestic abuse will now include economic or financial abuse.
This change is very important. Financial or economic abuse can be just as harmful to a victim’s life as physical abuse can.
In fact, in nearly all cases of domestic abuse financial abuse plays a big role in stifling a victims’ ability to leave their abuser.
The new draft bill will protect you if you are suffering from any sort of financial abuse, whether it’s alongside other forms of abuse, or on its own.
On the back of this, we think it’s important that you know what the signs of financial abuse are and what to do if you spot them.
Are you, or do you know someone who is the victim of domestic abuse? Our solicitors can help you.
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What is Financial Abuse?
Financial or economic abuse is essentially a harmful pattern of degrading, controlling and threatening behaviour which restricts a person’s freedom.
It is a common tactic that abusers use to gain power and control over their victim, and includes manipulative, intimidating and threatening behaviours.
Financial abuse is when an abuser uses or misuses money, limiting and controlling their partner’s abilities, current and future.
It could lead to victims being left with no money for clothes or food, or no access to their own bank accounts.
Victims often experience financial abuse alongside other forms of domestic abuse, and some are even still affected by it after they have managed to get away from their abuser.
In fact, research shows that financial abuse actually happens in 99 per cent of domestic violence cases, and is one of the main reasons victims are afraid to leave.
Common Financial Abuse Signs
Like with other types of domestic abuse, there are a variety of financial abuse signs to watch out for.
They may be affecting your family, friends, or even yourself and you might not have even noticed.
If your partner or a family or friend’s partner does any of the below, our family solicitors can help you:
- Forbids you from working and/or sabotages employment opportunities
- Controls how you spend your money
- Denies you access to your own or joint bank accounts
- Gives you an “allowance”
- Runs up large debts on joint accounts without your permission
- Forces you to account for any money you spend by showing them receipts
- Applies for credit accounts or cards using your name and information
- Witholds money for basic necessities like food, clothing, medication and housing
There are a range of other examples of financial abuse signs, although these are the most common.
No one should have to suffer at the hands of their partner, whether it be physical, sexual, emotional or financial abuse.
If you feel like you’re stuck in a marriage or civil partnership because of the financial abuse you suffer, we can help you break away safely.
Why It’s Important to Address Financial Abuse
If you suffer from financial abuse, you will understand how draining and manipulating it is.
Unfortunately, because there are no physical signs, many people don’t understand just how serious it can be.
As we mentioned above, financial abuse often goes hand in hand with other forms of abuse and can continue even after the victim has been able to distance themselves from their abuser.
It’s important to take notice of financial abuse signs and do something about them, whether you’re a victim, friend, or family member, because:
- It is a barrier which prevents victims from leaving – having no access to financial resources is one reason why many victims feel like they have no choice but to stay with their abuser
- It increases the risk for victims – experiencing financial barriers can result in victims staying with abusive partners for longer, which puts them at greater risk
- It prevents an independent life – because financial abuse doesn’t rely on physical proximity, that means it can continue after separation and can impact victims’ ability to rebuild their lives
Financial abuse can have a huge impact on how victims live their life, and can be extremely mentally straining.
It is as important to take notice of financial abuse as it is to recognise and report all other types of domestic abuse.
What You Can Do About Financial Abuse
We understand that suffering from financial abuse can make you feel trapped. You might feel like there’s nothing you can do, but there is.
If your partner is controlling your bank accounts or cards, and you can inform your bank, do so.
If you have access to a private phone, you can call the police on 101 for a non-emergency or 999 for an emergency.
If you can, keep a record of any incidents which display financial abuse signs. For example, this could be in the form of letters from your bank which show your cards being cancelled.
If possible, contact a family law solicitor. They can help you get a divorce or civil partnership dissolution, or obtain a restraining order to prevent your abuser from contacting you. Our solicitors are here to help.
How Our Family Law Experts Can Help
If you need help obtaining a divorce or separation because you’re suffering financial abuse, our family law solicitors can help you.
We know your struggle, and want to help you break away from your abuser to live your life safely and happily.
If you aren’t married but still need to take legal action against an abuser, we can help you with that too.
Our team can help you achieve what’s best for you. To find out more about our family services, give us a call on 0844 414 0667 or use our contact form today.Get in touch
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