Financial abuse is a form of domestic abuse and can be just as damaging as physical or emotional abuse. It is a way of controlling someone through their finances and can take many forms, from controlling access to money to preventing someone from getting a job or education. It is a serious issue and can have long-term effects on the victim.
If you or someone you know is experiencing financial abuse, it is important to take action. Sometimes (but not always) financial abuse will be recognised by the police as coercive or controlling behaviour, which is also a criminal offence. You do not have to be living with the person for the coercive or controlling behaviour offence to apply. Financial abuse can continue, or even start, after separation.
If you are worried about financial abuse, there are a few steps you can take to protect yourself.
1. Talk to someone you trust
Talking to someone you trust about what is happening can be the first step to getting help. This could be a friend, family member, or a professional. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone you know, you can contact a helpline such as the National Domestic Abuse Helpline.
2. Document the abuse
Documenting the abuse can help to build a case against the abuser. Keep records of any money that has been taken from you, any threats or coercion, and any other evidence of financial abuse.
3. Seek legal advice
Seeking legal advice can help you to understand your rights and options. A lawyer can help you to get a restraining order or other legal protection.
4. Report the abuse
If you feel comfortable doing so, you can report the financial abuse to the police. This can help to protect you and other potential victims from further abuse.
Financial abuse is a serious issue and it is important to take action if you or someone you know is experiencing it. Talking to someone you trust, documenting the abuse, seeking legal advice, and reporting the abuse are all steps you can take to protect yourself.