3 key signs of financial abuse to look out for and how a financial planner can help September 17, 2021 by Michelle Boakes Category: News When people talk about domestic abuse, they tend to focus on the physical and emotional aspects of it. Due to this, financial abuse is often overlooked. This insidious form of manipulation is also much more common than you might expect. According to figures from the Financial Conduct Authority, one in five women and one in seven men have experienced some form of financial abuse. It can also sometimes be hard to recognise, which is one of the reasons why it isn’t discussed as often as physical or emotional abuse. If you’re concerned about a friend or loved one, here are three of the key signs to look out for, as well as how working with a financial planner can help them to gain more control. Calls to domestic abuse hotlines increased significantly during the pandemic The coronavirus pandemic, and subsequent lockdowns, have had a significant social and economic impact on the UK over the last few months. One particular issue that it has caused is a sharp rise in domestic abuse. According to Aviva, calls to domestic violence helpline, Refuge, doubled during the pandemic. The increased stress of the lockdown, such as the disruption to our social lives and increased concerns about financial issues, has made many abusers more likely to lash out at their victims. Furthermore, the lockdowns meant that many victims of abuse were unable to leave their situation. According to a survey by Surviving Economic Abuse (SEA), around 1 in 12 abused women surveyed stated that they had plans to leave their abuser before the lockdown but were prevented from doing so. The study also found that four-fifths of abused women reported that their abuser had tried to control their finances during the pandemic. It can be easy to overlook financial abuse if you don’t know the warning signs Financial abuse is a serious issue and one that can be easily overlooked if you don’t know what to be aware of. Here are the three main signs you need to look out for if you’re concerned about a friend or loved one: Telling their victim how to spend their money or preventing them from spending it One of the most obvious examples of financial abuse is when an abuser tries to control how and when their victim spends their money. This can include obvious examples like confiscating a partner’s bank card to prevent them from making a purchase or a person demanding that their elderly parent transfers valuable assets to them. Making their victim financially dependent on them Another example of financial abuse is when the abuser makes their victim financially dependent on them. This can take a variety of forms, such as allowing their victim to rack up significant debt and then using the debt as leverage against them. Alternatively, it may involve controlling their victim’s means of making money. For example, an abusive partner may refuse to help with childcare, meaning that their victim is unable to work and earn. Refusing to talk about money This can be a much more subtle form of financial manipulation, whereby the abuser keeps the victim in a state of financial helplessness by refusing to involve their victim in handling money. For example, this could involve an elderly person not knowing how much wealth they have, since their carer moves it between accounts. Alternatively, an abuser could refuse to involve their partner with the process of paying the bills or mortgage payments, so that their victim wouldn’t know how to if they ever separated. Working with a financial planner can help the victims of financial abuse to gain more control Being in a financially abusive relationship can impact people’s wellbeing in a variety of ways. For a start, it can affect their material wellbeing, as they may not have freedom in their lifestyle choices. This can affect everything from what they wear, who they see, and even what they eat. Furthermore, it can also incredibly stressful, which can affect the victim’s physical wellbeing and lead to health conditions, such as high blood pressure. Finally, the nature of financial abuse can also make it difficult for the victim to see a way out of their difficult situation. When you’re constantly thinking about your day-to-day survival, it can be hard to see the bigger picture. Working with a financial planner who understands the nature of these problems can be essential if they want to escape their difficult situation. Seeking professional advice can help them to gain more control over their finances and reduce their reliance on their abuser. Get in touch If you’re concerned that a loved one is the victim of financial abuse, we can help. We understand the difficulties that victims go through and have a toolkit of resources to support them. Furthermore, please remember that all enquiries will be treated with respect and confidentiality. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0330 320 5048.