Financial abuse is when one person denies another the right to financial independence. Financial abuse can take a variety of different forms. It can be financial control, exploitation or sabotage. One in five of all adults in the UK have been a victim of financial abuse in a current or past relationship, with victims spanning any gender, age or income group.
If you are affected by financial abuse, we can offer support to help you get your finances back on track. The most important thing is that you reach out and talk to someone. There is help available, and you can regain control of your finances.
What is financial abuse?
Financial abuse is when a person denies you the right to acquire, use or manage your own money. It is a form of domestic abuse. Often this abuse is perpetrated by a partner, but it can also come from family members or friends. It most commonly occurs against older people and people who are vulnerable, or where other forms of domestic abuse are also taking place.
Financial abuse can sometimes take the form of fraud. An example of this would be someone you know using your card details to subscribe to a service without your knowledge or permission. Other times, financial abuse can be one person pressuring another to take financial actions they wouldn’t choose to take. This is known as coercion.
What are the signs of financial abuse?
Victims of financial abuse are often convinced that the abusive situation they are in is normal. The lack of open discussion around personal finances makes it difficult for victims to speak out, even to friends or family.
If you are concerned that you or someone close to you could be the subject of financial abuse, ask these questions.
- Preventing you from studying or working?
- Forcing you to work while refusing to themselves?
- Insisting that you hand over any benefits or salary?
- Only allowing you a small allowance, forcing you into financial difficulty?
- Insisting on seeing a receipt for every expense?
- Forbidding you from spending money on yourself or your children?
- Insisting that the home and bills you share are all in their name?
- Denying you access to your own financial information?
- Borrowing money in your name?
- Selling your property without permission?
Where to get support
If you are being subjected to financial abuse, help is available. The organisations below offer help, support and practical advice to people experiencing financial abuse.
Surviving Economic Abuse
Free phone 24 hour National Domestic Helpline run in partnership with Refuge.
How we can help
If you are affected by financial abuse, we can offer support in the following ways:
We understand that your circumstances may make it difficult to have mail received at your home address. We can update your address to send mail to another secure location, and help you to access your account information and messages through our secure Digital Banking app.
We can help you to close or suspend a joint account so that no further transactions are made.
Opening a new account
We can help you to set up a new account that is unconnected to any joint accounts you may have.
Cards, PINs and passwords
We can help you to change your PIN and passwords so that only you can access your digital and telephone banking.