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Financial abuse: What it is?

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Domestic abuse is not just physical and psychological harm – it also includes financial harm.

Financial abuse is the use or misuse of finances to exert control over a victim now and in the future, restricting their freedom and dignity. It is often part of a pattern of coercive control and it is an illegal offence under the Domestic Abuse Act which was updated in 2021.

Examples of financial abuse

  1. Restricting the victim’s access to money or their bank account;
  2. Opening fraudulent and coerced bank accounts;
  3. Taking sole control of the family’s income against the other person’s wishes;
  4. Putting assets in the name of the abuser;
  5. Putting any debt in the name of the victim.

Financial abuse falls into three categories:

  1. Sabotaging access to money
  2. Financial restriction
  3. Economic exploitation

Am I a Victim of Financial Abuse?

It may not be apparent as financial abuse because as with all abuse, it tends to be a slow escalation of controlling/coercive behaviour, making it hard to recognise for those within these relationships.

Abusers also often know how to hide their abuse from others outside the relationship. They will often blame the victim but there are some key indicators to look out for.

Key Indicators of Financial Abuse

  1. Unexplained money loss or a lack of money to pay for essentials;
  2. Credit cards taken out or bills put in the victim’s name;
  3. Asking the victim to account for what they spend money on;
  4. Inability to access or check bank accounts or financial service provider accounts;
  5. Isolation from friends and family;
  6. Being prevented from working or going to college or university;
  7. Being asked to change a Will.

Often a victim will be worried about taking advice but it is very important to seek help due to the devastating effect of domestic abuse in all its forms .  This is where the police and agencies such as Women's Aid and Men's Line are invaluable.

Contact our specialist financial abuse lawyers

If you think you may need legal advice because you are separating from a financial abusive partner please contact any one of our offices to arrange a meeting and we would be very pleased to help you.

Chattertons offers specialist family law advice throughout the network of office locations:

Boston  - 01205 351114

Bourne - 01778 218001

Horncastle - 01507 522456

Grantham - 01476 591550

Lincoln - 01522 541181

Newark - 01636 673731

Sleaford - 01529 411500

Spalding - 01775 725664

Stamford - 01780 764145

To ask a question or request a call back at a time that suits you, please use our simple enquiry form and a member of our team will get back to you quickly.