The Rise of Financial Abuse


A recent survey by the Co-Operative bank and Refuge has sought to establish the true scale of financial abuse in the UK. The survey of 4,000 people found that one in five women has experienced financial abuse compared to one in seven men.

Money under lock and key

What Is Financial Abuse?

Financial abuse is defined as involving behaviours that: Control the ability to acquire, use and maintain financial resources.

The occurrence of financial abuse is much higher for women; Crime Survey data has consistently shown that women are far more likely than men to have experienced non-physical (financial and emotional) forms of intimate partner violence at least once in the past year and since the age of 16, (ONS, 2015).

Facts and Figures

  • The survey reveals that one in five British adults have experienced financial abuse in a current or past relationship.
  • Just over a third of British adults 35% reported experiencing at least one potential indicator of financial abuse.
  • 1 in 10 respondents stated a partner had put debts in their name and that they had been afraid to say no.

Could You Be A Victim?

Financial abuse can be difficult to spot because it is not primarily linked to domestic abuse in the first instance by the victim. Many believe that only physical violence is abuse; however this is not the case.

There are lots of ways in which a partner can financially abuse you:

  • Making it difficult to find, get, and keep a job
  • Taking sole control of your joint or personal bank account
  • Demanding your wages for themselves
  • Asking for evidence of what you've spent, and why
  • Not allowing you to spend your own money freely (on yourself or others, such as your children)
  • Stealing your personal money for themselves (perhaps lying about it)
  • Amassing large amounts of debt and expecting you to pay (in full or part) for them.

If you think your partner is financially abusing you, it can be an isolating and distressing time. Having a limited access to money can mean you feel trapped, but there are many charities that you can talk to; Refuge, Women's Aid, and the Men's Advice Line are a good place to start – but you could also benefit from legal advice.

How Can Simpson Millar Help?

Simpson Millar's domestic violence team are always on hand to give you honest, jargon-free advice. Financial abuse is debilitating, but we can help by discussing every option that you have, on a confidential basis.

You are able to submit an application for an order to the courts yourself but if you feel that you need the support of a solicitor and/or ongoing legal advice we can apply for a non-molestation or an occupation order with the courts on your behalf if this is something you wish to pursue.

All applications under the Family Law Act are dealt with by the Magistrates' Family Proceedings Court or the County Court, or in some cases the High Court. Only the parties involved and their legal representatives will be allowed into the closed court so you can be assured that your privacy is taken into account.

To find out how we could help you please make a no-obligation enquiry or call freephone: 0808 129 3320.

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