What is Financial Abuse and What You Can Do About It

Financial abuse signs
Legally reviewed by: Shakeela Bi In: Family

Family law services at Cartwright King

We understand that family law is a deeply sensitive area and that cases can significantly impact your family.
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  • Move in with a partner
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At Cartwright King our specialist family law team can help you with personalised advice, sensitive to your situation.

We will always take the time to listen to your needs. We are well aware of how upsetting family disputes can often be.

We will in any case do what we can to minimise any distress and lead you to your desirable outcome.

What is Financial Abuse UK and What are the Signs?

Financial 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.

In these cases the abuser uses or misuses money, limiting and controlling their victim’s abilities, current and future.

Examples of this type of abuse often feature victims being left with no money for clothes or food, or no access to their own bank accounts.

Victims often experience being controlled financially 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 there is a form of financial control in 99 per cent of domestic violence cases, and is one of the main reasons victims are afraid to leave.

Domestic abuse can occur in a relationship or a marriage, so it’s important to be aware of the signs so you can get help for yourself or whoever is the victim.

Cartwright King is a provider of legal aid services, so legal aid may be available to you.

The New Draft Domestic Abuse Bill

Recently 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 control plays a big role in stifling a victim’s ability to leave their abuser.

On the back of this, we think it’s important that you know what the signs of this type of abuse are and what to do if you spot them.

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
  • Withholds money for basic necessities like food, clothing, medication and housing

There are a range of other examples of situations in which this type of abuse occurs, 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.

If you feel like you’re stuck in a marriage or civil partnership because of the financial abuse you suffer, we can help and assist you with legal matters.

We provide family law legal services with a specific understanding of the issues those suffering from financial and domestic abuse face.

Why is it Important to Address the Signs of Financial Abuse?

If you suffer from financial, or other forms of domestic abuse, you will understand how draining and manipulating it is.

Unfortunately, because there are no physical financial abuse signs, many people don’t understand just how serious it can be.

As we mentioned above, financially controlling a partner 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 any type of domestic abuse and financial abuse signs and take action, 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 this abuse doesn’t rely on physical proximity, that means it can continue after separation and can impact victims’ ability to rebuild their lives

Any type of domestic abuse can have a huge impact on how victims live their life, and it can be extremely mentally straining.

It is as important to take notice of financial control and manipulation as it is to recognise and report all other types of domestic abuse.

What Can I Do if I Notice Financial Abuse Signs?

We understand that suffering from any type of domestic 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, or other forms of domestic 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 with children but still need to take legal action against an abuser, we can help you with that too. We can help you set out child agreements, financial arrangements, help you set out your Will as well as Lasting Power of Attorney.

Our team can help you achieve what’s best for you. To find out more about our family services, give us a call on 03458 941 622 or use our contact form today.

Legal Disclaimer.

All advice is correct at time of publication.