Can you recognise the signs of economic abuse?

At the start of a new financial year, we take a look at the way money can be used by abusers to maintain power and control.

Around 95% of women who have experienced domestic abuse have also suffered from economic abuse, according to research carried out by UK charity Surviving Economic Abuse (SEA).

Economic abuse is not just about stopping you from spending your money. The term covers any action that reinforces or creates financial instability, and includes behaviour that may be dressed up as a romantic or caring gesture. By limiting women’s choices, economic abuse can result in them staying in abusive relationships for longer and suffering more harm.

The following scenarios are just some examples of economic abuse.

Your partner says that you can’t access your joint bank account, cards or app because you are not clever enough to understand them, will waste money, or that it’s “a man’s job” to look after the finances.

 They say you are too good for your job and should quit so they can look after you.

 They don’t allow you to claim the benefits you are entitled to, or fix a better rate on your mortgage.

 They make you take out a loan in your name for their benefit and refuse to make the payments, coercing you into debt.

 They make you provide them with receipts for all your purchases, keep a spending diary or justify everything you buy.

 They repeatedly break your phone or damage other property so you have to keep replacing them.

 They turn off the heating, lighting and/or WiFi when they are not at home (which can now be done remotely).

 Your ex-partner frequently changes the date of the month they pay your child maintenance, so you miss bill payments and get into debt or do not have the money to feed your family.

 They refuse to change their address to continue negatively impacting your credit rating.

If this sounds familiar, reach out so we can help. Remember, under the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, economic abuse is a criminal offence in England, whether you are still in the relationship or not.