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Abuse & Money: Recognizing Financial Abuse


In 2020, The National Network to End Domestic Violence reported that Financial Abuse occur ed in over 90% of all domestic violence reporting. Financial abuse is a common tactic that can jeopardize your safety and financial health.

Financial abuse is a tactic used by abusers to gain control and dominance in a relationship. Financial Abuse can look different in each relationship, but common tactics include limiting the victim’s access to financial assets such as bank accounts, retirement accounts, or cash. Financial Abuse is intended to isolate, manipulate, and intimate the victim.

Financial Abuse may begin covertly and begin to escalate over time. In the beginning of a relationship the abusive partner may use manipulation tactics to appear charming. For example, the abuser may make statements such as, “I know you’re under a lot of stress right now, so why don’t you just let me take care of the finances. I’ll give you money each week to take care of what you need.” Given the circumstances the victim may believe that they can trust their partner and may willingly give over control of the finances.

Once the abuser has control they are reluctant and often refuse to relinquish the control when the victim chooses to take back their financial control. Victims often discover their accounts have been transferred, or closed completely.

According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, other cases of Financial Abuse may be more overt and they urge awareness to the following issues:

  • Controlling how all of the money is spent. This may include withholding or denying access to bank accounts or assets, or withholding money or giving an allowance that is not mutually agreed upon.

  • Withholding funds for the victim or children to obtain basic needs such as food and medicine.

  • Excluding the victim from important financial decisions, such as investment or banking decisions.

  • Hiding assets.

  • Sabotaging work or employment opportunities by stalking or harassing the victim at the workplace or causing the victim to lose their job by physically harming them prior to important meetings or interviews, or forbidding work entirely.

  • Forcing the victim to work in a family business without pay.

  • Refusing to work or contribute to the family income.

  • Ruining the victim’s credit. This could include running up large amounts of debt on joint accounts and refusing to pay bills, or taking out credit cards in the victim’s name without their knowledge.

  • Forcing the victim to write bad checks, file fraudulent tax returns, or file false insurance claims.

  • Forcing the victim to turn over public benefits or threatening to turn the victim in for “cheating or misusing benefits.”

  • Stealing the victim’s identity, property, or inheritance.

  • Refusing to pay or evading child support or manipulating the divorce process by drawing it out by hiding or not disclosing assets.

Here at Operation Foxhole we believe education is key to empowerment. For more information about proactive tips you can take to regain your financial power please click on the link below. https://nnedv.org/spotlight_on/nnedv-allstate-foundation-help-lock-financial-abuse/

If you or someone you know is a victim of Financial Abuse, please tell someone or reach out to one of our Advocates for assistance.


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