3 Signs You Are Being Financially Abused
October is Domestic Abuse Awareness month and while many people think of physical abuse when they hear domestic violence, there are other nonphysical ways a person can be abused.
One common form of abuse, that often happens in conjunction with other forms of abuse, is financial. Financial abuse is a form of control and domination wherein the abuser uses the money to control and isolate the victim. This typically happens between spouses, but can also happen in other relationships where the victim is financially dependent on the abuser.
This type of abuse occurs across all genders, social-economic, educational, ethnic, and racial groups.
Some of the signs of financial abuse include:
Preventing the Victim From Working
The abuser may force the victim to quit their job and won’t allow them to work. They will say they will pay all the bills but only give the victim funds for specific purchases that they pre-approve. They will often review receipts and question the victim about purchases.
Denying The Victim Access To Income They Have Earned
In some cases, the abuser will allow the victim to work (even if the abuser is unemployed) and require the victim to hand over their entire paychecks. They may or may not use the funds to pay bills and only give the victim money for pre-approved purchases. Just like the victim who does not work, they will check receipts and verify how all funds are spent.
Total Control Over Family Finances
The victim will not be involved in any financial decisions and have limited access to financial accounts. They will have to justify or ask permission for any expense. The abuser will use this total financial control to threaten to leave the victim with nothing if they attempt to resist the control.
Financial Abuse Can Happen To Anyone
Financial abuse is abuse and often is the precursor or used in conjunction with other abuse. If this is happening to you, you can take steps to plan your escape. Try to get the assistance of a friend or family member who can hold money for you or help you until you can get on your feet. Try to develop a skill or hobby to make extra money on the side or as a way to make money when you get out. Most importantly, work on a plan for a safe place to go when you are ready to leave.
It can often be difficult for victims of financial abuse to divorce because they don’t have the funds. Finding a place to live can be an obstacle, not to mention paying for attorneys fees and court filing fees. If there are marital assets you may be entitled to them and you may be able to ask the court for maintenance (spousal support) and child support. In NYC there are programs that can help if you qualify. Contact 1-800-621-HOPE in NYC for resources to help you escape a domestic violence situation.