The impacts of financial abuse can be significant, says White-Reid. “Economic abuse by an intimate partner can undermine a survivor’s confidence in managing financial resources and their ability to provide long-term safety and security,” she tells Bustle. “Abusers often tell their partners that they are too stupid to manage their money effectively. This, combined with other forms of abuse, makes many survivors doubt their ability to manage their finances, get and keep a job, or support themselves and their children. . “
Financial abuse can be hidden in plain sight. If you notice unexplained withdrawals, bills that you can’t explain that your partner refuses to talk to you about, pressure not to open your own bank account, or pay attention to financial details, or other warning signs from this list, it may be time to take a close look at your financial affairs. The Refuge study indicates that financial abuse against women is more likely to start after a big event in life, like having a child or buying a house.
If you need to get out, domestic violence charities recommend that if you can and it is safe, you try to gather as much identity and financial data as possible, including records. credit card and any documentation proving who owns what. “If it is not possible – or dangerous – to take the originals,” says the Money Advisory Service, “then try to make copies, or write down key information such as account numbers. “The Women’s Law Organization advises you to speak to your bank to change your passwords and PIN, and find out more”how much does the aggressor earn (including salary, bonuses, money [they] obtain any rental property); how much money is in all accounts: savings, checks, investments, retirement accounts; and how much money is owed on credit cards, mortgage, car, etc. ” Create your own personal accounts if you can, check your credit and put your documentation in a safe place where an abuser cannot access it.
When preparing to leave, it is recommended that you call your local domestic violence helpline (who will be trained to help victims of financial abuse or can put you in touch with people who can help you), and local councils or social authorities, who may be able to provide you with financial assistance to leave. the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence has plenty of resources for people trying to leave financially abusive relationships, and Purple Purse, which is part of the Allstate Foundation, has online courses for women who have been victims of financial abuse to learn financial management skills.
If you have a friend or family member suffering from economic violence, White-Reid has some advice. “There are many ways to help,” she tells Bustle. “For example, after fleeing an abusive situation, they will need to have access to copies of important financial and personal documents such as bank statements, birth or marriage certificates, and property documents for shared assets.” Offer to keep these important forms, along with a small amount of extra money if possible, set aside for your possession where an abuser will not be able to locate them. Encourage them to create a budget showing the cost of shelter, food, and other expenses so they know what to expect when living alone. It is essential that they do this research on a computer outside the home, or while using incognito mode on a phone or personal computer, to avoid alerting their attacker. “
This form of violence is much more common than you might think, she says: “Economic violence is present in 98% of all abusive relationships.” If you think you or someone you know might be a target, don’t let it slip; act.