Signs of economic and financial abuse

Abuse is not always physical, it can be related to your finances.

October is recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Many understand domestic violence as physical harm; however, economic abuse is a component of domestic violence as well. According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, economic or financial abuse is often used as a tactic to make victims stay in abusive relationships. 

Some common methods used in Financial Abuse include:

  • Forbidding the victim to work 
  • Sabotaging work or employment opportunities by stalking or harassing the victim at the workplace or causing the victim to lose her job by physically battering prior to important meetings or interviews
  • Controlling how all of the money is spent 
  • Not allowing the victim access to bank accounts 
  • Withholding money or giving “an allowance”
  • Not including the victim in investment or banking decisions
  • Forbidding the victim from attending job training or advancement opportunities
  • Forcing the victim to write bad checks or file fraudulent tax returns
  • Running up large amounts of debt on joint accounts
  • Refusing to work or contribute to the family income
  • Withholding funds for the victim or children to obtain basic needs such as food and medicine
  • Hiding assets
  • Stealing the victim’s identity, property or inheritance
  • Forcing the victim to work in a family business without pay
  • Refusing to pay bills and ruining the victims’ credit score
  • Forcing the victim to turn over public benefits or threatening to turn the victim in for “cheating or misusing benefits”
  • Filing false insurance claims
  • Refusing to pay or evading child support or manipulating the divorce process by drawing it out by hiding or not disclosing assets 

Financial abuse can be devastating and can ruin credit and create legal issues. Michigan State University Extension and MI Money Health offer several resources, including the Financial Health Survey, to assist in improving your financial health. For more information on economic or financial abuse or to seek help, click here

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