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Are you a victim of financial abuse?

More than 9 million people are estimated to have experienced financial from their partner, a report from the Co-operative Bank and the charity Refuge has found.

The findings throw light onto the murky world of domestic bullying around money, in which 18% of adults are intimidated by their spouse or partner, with women bearing the brunt of the abuse.

The ‘My money, my life’ campaign report states that women are almost twice as likely as men to suffer financial abuse when they move in with a partner, and significantly more likely to have hassle when they get married or have children.

Money manipulation is a curse

Financial abuse occurs when one person tries to control another’s access to, and use of, their own money. It can include monitoring all spending or even preventing their partner from having their own bank account.

Women are also more likely to suffer abuse for longer, and even after they have severed ties with their partner.

The Co-operative Bank and Refuge have identified the key types of abuse metered out to victims. These are:

  • Partners using money as a means of manipulation     55%
  • Partners making significant financial decisions without consulting them    52%
  • Having to ask permission or show evidence of spending    49%
  • Partner taking financial assets without permission    47%
  • Personal spending monitored or only allowed money for bare essentials    45%
  • Partner putting debts in their name and being afraid to say no    41%
  • Partner stopping or interfering with them going to work    41%
  • Not being allowed to have their own savings account    35%
  • Prevented from having access to a personal bank account    30%


Tips for dealing with cash issues

If you feel you don’t have control of your finances, but don’t feel physically threatened, there are some steps you can take to avoid it overtaking your life and ruining your relationship.

First, never put off talking about money worries, things will only get worse if you do. Also, try to keep things in perspective, money is a tool to help you get what you want, nothing more or less. If you need to cut back to afford something you really want or need, talk through how you can achieve this with your partner.

Finally, never discuss money when either you or your partner is angry. A cool head is more likely to reach a sensible decision than a hot one.


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  • Jenny / 11 December 2015

    I lived with a man for several years who thought it was ok to borrow about 25% of mage wages every month despite earning more than me. He ran out of money all the time and never had enough to pay the rent forcing more loans out of me so we where no evicted. When I refused to lend more money he took it from my wallet without person. So effectively I had control of my money buts was still being subjected to the abuse.