When people hear the words, "domestic violence" there are certain images, behaviors or words that come to mind. Often, the first thing that comes to mind is physical abuse, however a less known way to control and terrorize a victim is through financial abuse.
The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) states that, "Financial abuse is a common tactic used by abusers to gain power and control in a relationship. Tactics limit the partner’s access to assets or conceal information and accessibility to the family finances. Financial abuse along with emotional, physical and sexual abuse, manipulation, intimidation and threats are all intentional tactics used by an abuser aimed at entrapping the partner in the relationship."
Below are common methods that are used to gain financial control over the victim:
Forbidding the victim to work or harassing the victim at the workplace or causing the victim to lose her job by physically battering prior to important meetings or interviews
Sabotaging work or employment opportunities by stalking
Controlling how all of the money is spent
Not allowing the victim access to bank accounts
Withholding money or giving “an allowance”
Not including the victim in investment or banking decisions
Forcing the victim to write bad checks or file fraudulent tax returns
Running up large amounts of debt on joint accounts, taking bad credit loans
Refusing to work or contribute to the family income
Withholding funds for the victim or children to obtain basic needs such as food and medicine
Stealing the victim’s identity, property or inheritance
Forcing the victim to work in a family business without pay
Refusing to pay bills and ruining the victims’ credit score
Forcing the victim to turn over public benefits or threatening to turn the victim in for “cheating or misusing benefits”
Filing false insurance claims
The negative impact of economic abuse can have short and long term effects. Victims are often trapped in relationships or forced to choose between staying in an abusive relationship or being homeless. Abusers are manipulative and use many tactics to control the victim. Please pass this information along and be a supportive friend/family member/neighbor if someone discloses abuse or controlling behavior to you.