Financial abuse: spot the signs

Refuge has created a list of questions that might help you recognise whether you are experiencing financial abuse.

Does/did your partner:

  • Prevent you from working, or stop you from going to work, college or university?
  • Ask you to account for every penny you spend?
  • Check your receipts or bank statement so they can monitor how much you are spending?
  • Keep log-in details, bank cards or PINs for any joint accounts so you do not have access to it?
  • Insist on controlling all financial matters?
  • Place debts in your name?
  • Withhold child maintenance payments?

If any of these situations feel familiar, you may be experiencing financial abuse.

Harmful practices: spot the signs

Things to look out for if you or someone you know is at risk of forced marriage, FGM or HBV include:

  • School truancy, or not being allowed to work
  • Low motivation when at work or school
  • Lack of engagement extracurricular, or social, activities
  • Self-harm
  • Mental health concerns, such as depression
  • Reports of domestic abuse at home
  • Missing young people reported in the family in the past
  • A family history of forced marriage or FGM
  • Parents announcing they will be taking a child out of the country for a prolonged period

Tech abuse: spot the signs

Does/did your partner:

  • Have access to all of your online accounts?
  • Try and control who you speak to online?
  • Know the passwords to your emails and/or social media, and regularly ‘check in’ on what has been sent or posted?
  • Hack into your child/children’s devices or accounts to find out their location?
  • Download apps or software to your device(s) to track what you are doing?

Life after abuse

Domestic violence and abuse survivors can face ongoing and challenging effects of abuse.

It can take time to adjust to living in a safe environment, especially if a perpetrator was severely controlling and/or violent and committed the actions over an extended period of time.

On the journey to recovery, survivors and those who support them should understand that healing takes time.

The effects of this trauma can vary widely person to person as responses to stress, age, and the frequency and severity of abuse are individual.

Symptoms can include:

  • Depression, including prolonged sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Low self-esteem and questioning sense of self
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts (if you or someone you know is feeling suicidal, contact Samaritans by calling 116 123)
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including flashbacks, nightmares, or physical sensations such as sweating, nausea or trembling