Economic or Financial Wife Abuse
Abuse is usually a matter of trying to control you; the abuser seeks to control the victim in any way possible while isolating you from anyone on the outside of the family or household. Economic and financial abuse is when the domestic abuser uses the money as the means of having control over his or her partner. Abuse is a very effective way for the abuser to exert considerable control over the victim and to prevent the victim from developing any autonomy or freedom from the abuser. As well, economic abuse can easily be used as a way of preventing the victim from leaving the home or marriage; if the victim has no money of their own, no access to any money, and no ability to earn money, the victim is much less likely to try to escape the abusive situation. There is no limit to the creativity and wide range of actions and control that an abuser will attempt to utilize for financial and/or economic abuse.
Although criminal offenses can apply to situations of financial abuse (such as theft, fraud, or forgery), these offenses are often hard to prove in a family situation where the pattern appears to have been one of joint finances.
Economic or financial abuse includes
- Demanding exclusive control over household finances
- Denying them access to financial resources
- Exploiting the intimate partner’s resources for personal gain
- Making her ask for money
- Making you account for every penny you spend
- Manipulating or exploiting a person for financial gain
- Not allowing her a voice in important financial decisions
- Not letting her know about the family income or giving her access to any
- Preventing you from working or choosing your own career/occupation or keeping a jobor even by taking the car or the keys, or even disabling the car, so that she cannot go to work or school.
- Restricting you to an allowance, if giving you an allowance at all
- Rigidly controlling your finances, taking her money
- Sabotaging your job, making you miss work, calling constantly
- Stealing from you or taking your money, defrauding a partner
- Withholding basic necessities: food, clothes, medications, shelter
- Withholding economic resources such as money or credit cards
Economic or financial abuse tactics
- An abuser may deliberately spend money on himself or sell the woman’s possessions and family furniture.
- Many financial and economic abusers are not good with money and he or she will end up destroying the credit of their partners, may force his or her partner to do illegal acts for money.
- The abuser will put all the bills in their partner’s name and at the same time the abuser will not allow his or her partner to see the bank statements, bills or any other money transaction that may happen.
- The abuser will use any money brought in for children through welfare, child support checks or monetary gifts on themselves.
Ways to deal (and get help) with economic or financial abuse
- If you are in an abusive relationship and are interested in taking steps towards financial self-sufficiency, please read the following tips: (source: adapted from NCADV Hope and Power: For Your Personal Finances)
- Compile an emergency evacuation box with copies of your family’s important records and documents
- If you are thinking about leaving your relationship, find out what it would cost you to live on your own, and consider starting to set aside your own money, even if it’s just a few dollars, and keep it safe.
- If you use the internet to explore domestic violence issues or for regaining financial independence, make sure your abuser cannot trace your activities. Be cautious about giving out personal information over the web and think about having mail or emails sent to a friend or to your workplace
- If your partner controls the money, look for ways to find out more about his/her income, financial property, real property and debts
- Keep copies of car and house keys in your wallet, along with extra money and emergency phone numbers
- Keep your personal and financial records in a safe location. Leave copies with a trusted friend, relative or in a bank safety deposit box
- Take a financial inventory