Domestic violence is more than just physical violence. Domestic violence occurs when one person uses behaviors and tactics to gain power over their partner. Many abusive partners manipulate, control and sabotage their partner's money and finances to gain power and control.
What is Financial Abuse?
Financial abuse occurs when someone uses money or finances to exert power and control over their partner. Financial abuse occurs in 99% of domestic violence cases and is often cited as the main reason why someone stays with an abusive partner. Abusers often use a combination of abusive tactics in addition to financial abuse, such as emotional, physical or sexual abuse.
Signs of Financial Abuse
Even though financial abuse is a common form of abuse, every survivor has an unique experience in their relationship. Here's some common examples of financial abuse:
Forbidding or interfering with your ability to work
Does your partner refuse to let you get a job? Has your partner ever harassed you at work or sabotaged your transportation to work?
Controlling how all of the money is spent- even your own
Does your partner decide how you will spend your paycheck? Does your partner give you an "allowance"? Do you feel like you have control over your own finances?
Not including you in financial decisions
Has your partner made a large purchase with your money without your consent (such as a car)? Does your partner frequently quit their job without discussing this with you? Has your partner criticized you for expressing your opinion about finances?
Restricting your access to bank accounts or financial information
Are you able to access your money? Do you know where all of your banking and financial accounts are held? Has your partner changed your login information or removed your name from your account?
Refusing to pay bills
Does your partner refuse to contribute to shared finances and responsibilities? Does your partner spend their money as they please and force you to pay the bills?
Destroying your credit
Has your partner opened credit or loan accounts in your name without your consent? Are all joint responsibilities in your name (lease, utilities, etc.)? Has your partner ran up debt in your name?
Involving you in financial crimes
Has your partner made you file a fake insurance claim? Have you ever been forced or manipulated into writing a bad check or file a fraudulent tax return?
Making you the sole provider in your relationship
Do you feel that financial responsibilities are unfairly split in your relationship? Has your partner refused to pay for essentials such as food or medical care for you or your children?
Help is available
If you are experiencing any kind of financial abuse, you don't have to deal with it on your own. Resources and organizations exist to help you regain control over your finances and to help you escape the abusive relationship.
NNEDV offers information about financial abuse as well as resources and tips for survivors. https://nnedv.org/about-dv/dv-economic-justice/. Information for this blog post was found through their resources.
Advocates at The Domestic Violence Shelter are always available to discuss financial abuse, offer resources and help you create a safety plan unique to your situation. Call our 24/7 Crisis Line at 419-774-5840.