During lockdown, domestic abuse has been on the rise, with the UN describing the worldwide increase in abuse as a 'shadow pandemic' alongside the COVID-19 crisis.
Within domestic abuse can lie a range of manipulative and violent methods of control and humiliation, one being financial and economic abuse.
Women's Aid defines financial abuse as an aspect of ‘coercive control’ – a pattern of controlling, threatening and degrading behaviour that restricts a victims’ freedom.
This, in turn, can leave sufferers with little or no financial freedom, debts built up in their name by the abuser and no access to independent income. Unfortunately - this can often appear to be preventative method to stop victims of domestic abuse victims leaving their abuser.
What are the signs of financial abuse?
Financial abuse, sadly, is not usually performed on its own - and other abusive behaviours are often used in tandem.
However, some tell-tale signs of financial abuse as a victim might include:
Their credit cards being used without permission
Contractual obligations or debts being put in their name
Personal or family assets being used to gamble with
Removed access to personal bank or shared accounts
Any independent income being controlled
Having to justify or account for every spend or purchase
Financial abuse and debt
Due to the nature of financial abuse and the lack of financial control experienced by victims, financial abuse and debt are closely linked; Often, victims can be left with overwhelming amounts of debt in their name as a result of a financially abusive relationship.
The burden of debt created by someone other than yourself can feel frightening and paying it back - depending on the amount - can often feel hopeless.
If you, or someone you know has been a victim of financial abuse it's important to remember that help is out there.
About Freeze Debt
Freeze Debt is the first debt advice and solutions app helping UK users to take their first steps towards a debt-free future. Our free service provides those struggling with unmanageable debt a confidential space to speak openly about their debt and financial worries and find a suitable solution based on their personal circumstances.
Freeze Debt's in-app messaging service is a revolutionary and modern way for users to address their debts and find solutions in less than 5 minutes, compared to the traditional and uncomfortable ‘call-centre-model’ that can take an average of 45 minutes.
So far, we’ve helped clear over £30m of debt and helped many people begin their journey to a debt-free future.