Financial Impacts of Domestic Violence

Financial abuse is a strategy of power and control used by many abusive partners, isolating survivors from resources, rights and choices, and limiting their ability to take charge of their lives or find freedom. Financial abuse occurs in 98% of abusive relationships. Debt incurred through financial abuse can prohibit survivors who’ve left abusive relationships from renting new apartments or applying for mortgages. Up to 60% of survivors have lost their job due to reasons related to their abuse, including the stalking behavior of their abusers.

Economic abuse can take many forms:

  • Limiting or forbidding access to bank accounts and financial statements
  • Deciding when and how you can use cash or credit cards
  • Withholding money for necessities like food, clothing, medication and housing
  • Forcing you to account for every penny they spend
  • Forcing you to write bad checks or file fraudulent tax returns
  • Forcing you to apply for credit cards, obtain loans, refinance a home mortgage or take out a car loan
  • Using your personal information to take out loans or apply for credit cards without their knowledge
  • Forcing you to turn over paychecks or public benefits
  • Running up large debts on joint accounts without your approval
  • Demanding that a lease or mortgage be in the abuser’s name
  • Demanding that a lease be in your name and then destroying the apartment or refusing to pay rent
  • Using your checks, ATM card or credit card without their knowledge or approval
  • Forcing you to work in a family business without pay
  • Withholding child support
  • Prolonging divorce, child custody or other legal battles to drain your resources

Abusers can also sabotage your employment by:

  • Preventing you from going to work
  • Preventing you from looking for jobs or going to job interviews
  • Preventing you from going to school to improve your job prospects
  • Compelling you to quit by accusing you of having affairs with your boss or co-workers
  • Demanding that you quit your job
  • Stalking and harassing you at your job so you get fired or quit to spare your co-workers

New Beginnings can help survivors experiencing financial abuse with information about establishing financial independence, communicating with employers and landlords, and repairing credit. Call our 24-hour Helpline for more information and support.