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Financial abuse

Financial abuse

Financial abuse is a person using or misusing money which limits and controls their partner’s or family member’s current and future actions and their freedom of choice. Even if a survivor of abuse has moved away, the perpetrator could still exert financial control, for example by withholding money, e.g. child maintenance, or by taking out credit in their name.

Financial abuse can go alongside coercive control, with the perpetrator seeking to control what and how money is spent, or equally whether their partner / family member can work and earn their own money. A perpetrator of financial abuse may take our financial obligations in their partner / family member’s name, either without their permission or will permission that was coerced.

Financial abuse can be part of the wider economic abuse, which includes things like stopping you from going to work, college or university, causing you to lose benefits by making you miss appointments or apply for jobs and controlling access to essentials, such as food, clothing or transport.

If financial abuse is deemed by the Police to be coercive and controlling behaviour then it is classed as a criminal offence.

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Questions & Answers

Some examples of financial abuse are:

  • using credit cards without permission
  • putting contractual obligations in their partner’s name
  • gambling with family assets
  • rigidly controlling your finances
  • withholding money or credit cards
  • making you account for every penny you spend
  • withholding basic necessities (food, clothes, medications)
  • restricting you to an allowance
  • preventing you from working or choosing your own career
  • sabotaging your job (making you miss work, calling constantly)
  • stealing from you or taking your money

Financial abuse may be recognised by the Police as coercive and controlling behaviour, which is a criminal offence. A person convicted or coercive and controlling behaviour could receive up to 5 years in prison, a fine, or both.

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