Financial abuse prevents victims from acquiring, using or maintaining financial resources. It is a form of domestic violence and is a commonly used tactic by perpetrators to trap their partner in the relationship. Approximately 98% of those who have been victim of domestic violence experience financial abuse. This abuse can happen to anyone regardless of race, income, age or level of education. In the last decade, the pervasive effect of financial abuse and its impact on an individual’s decision to leave an abusive situation has become increasingly evident to advocates and researchers in the field of domestic violence. Families impacted by domestic violence in New Hampshire are no exception to this phenomenon.
Financial abuse can progress subtly over time. The victim of this abuse often has no access to household income, bank accounts, paychecks, assets and investments. This abuse can occur through:
Withholding money or “giving an allowance”
Controlling how money is spent
Withholding basic living resources, medication or food
Not allowing a partner to work or earn money or harassing a partner at work
Stealing a partner’s identity, money, credit or property
Preventing a partner from pursuing education or transportation
Experiencing financial abuse can be the difference between leaving and staying. The emotional and economic impact can be devastating. Lack of resources, particularly with children, can prevent someone from finding the means to leave.
identifying financial abuse
Screening questions for financial abuse/warning signs (from Allstate Moving Ahead Through Financial Management curriculum)
does your partner...
Steal money from you or your family?
Force you to give access to your money or financial accounts?
Make you feel as though you don’t have a right to know any details about money? About household decisions?
Make financial or investment decisions that affect you or your family without consulting or reaching agreement with you?
Refuse to include you in important meetings with banks, financial planners or retirement specialists?
Forbid you to work? Or to attend school or training sessions?
Overuse your credit cards? Refuse to pay the bills?
Force you to file false tax claims or other legal/financial documents?
Prevent you from obtaining or using credit cards or bankcards?
Withhold physical resources from you? These could include food, clothes, medications or shelter.
Force you to work in a family business for little or no pay?
Refuse to work to help support the family?
Interfere with your performance at work? This could include frequent telephone calls, emails or visits to your workplace.
Force you to turn over your benefit or public assistance payments? Threaten to falsely report you for “cheating” on your benefits so they will be cut off?
Force you to cash in, sell or sign over any financial assets or inheritance you own? This could include bonds, stock or property.
The 13 member programs of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence provide services regardless of gender,age, health status (including HIV-positive), physical, mental or emotional ability, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, socio-economic status, race, national origin, immigration status or religious or political affiliation.