Financial abuse is a form of domestic violence that affects both men and women. It is often difficult to recognize, as it can be subtle and hard to detect. Financial control in an abusive relationship usually involves one partner controlling all the finances, including withholding money or assets from the other person. This type of abuse can lead to severe psychological and financial consequences.
In order to recognize financial abuse, there are certain warning signs you should look for in your relationship. These include: one partner is always making all the decisions about finances; one partner is controlling access to money or assets; one partner is preventing the other from getting a job or going to school; and one partner is using verbal threats and intimidation to control the other’s financial decisions.
5 key steps to prepare to leave a financial abuse situation:
Start building an emergency fund. Set aside money each month to a savings account that the abusive partner doesn't know about. This can help you have funds available when you leave or if you become unemployed after leaving.
Open an individual bank account and credit card in your name only. This will allow you to have financial independence from your abuser.
Secure copies of all important documents, including your birth certificate, Social Security card, driver’s license, bank account information, and credit card records.
Make a safety plan for yourself and others in the household that identifies potential risks and escape routes if needed.
Contact local domestic violence shelters, and legal and other support services for additional assistance.