The month of October has been designated as ‘Domestic Abuse Awareness Month.’ It has been estimated that 1 in 5 adults will experience some form of financial abuse in their relationships. Here are some of the signs that you or someone you know may be in a financially abusive relationship as well as what you can do to help.
WHAT IS FINANCIAL ABUSE?
Financial abuse is when a person uses money/finances as a weapon to manipulate or control the behavior of another. This type of abuse can make it difficult for the victim to escape the situation because they often don’t have access to the financial means to do so. While this may be most commonly associated with romantic partnerships, it can also apply to family relationships, such as an elderly parent and a child.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS?
Signs that your or someone you know may be a victim of financial abuse include, but are not limited to:
- Controlling or limiting access to bank accounts and debit & credit cards
- Using threats or violence to get money
- Creating isolation by limiting victim’s access to phone, internet, car, etc.
- Threatening to leave or evict victim from home without financial access
- Sells property or items that belong to victim & uses funds for own benefit
- Exploiting economic disadvantages
- Preventing or making it difficult for victim to have a job
- Victim often hides purchases or is diligent about receipts
- Abuse of Power of Attorney
- Forced changes to will or other financial documents
WHAT CAN HELP?
If you or someone you know is suffering from financial abuse, there are steps you can take. Hotline.org is a free tool that provides a variety of resources from a hotline number, ways to get help, tips on identifying abuse, creating a plan to get to safety, and more.