The Mental Health Consequences Of Financial Abuse
Financial abuse doesn’t get very much publicity but it exists and causes considerable harm. Victims of financial abuse suffer considerable mental health problems, often for long periods of time and sometimes their entire lives. It can even lead to self harming and suicide.
People experiencing financial abuse are often isolated, suffer anxiety and feel helpless. The truth being that those perpetrating the abuse need to create those feelings so they can continue their controlling behaviour.
What is Financial Abuse?
It is a form of domestic abuse and can involve partners within a relationship, family members, or even carers. Wherever a situation arises where one person can hold an abusive control over another using threats, violence, emotional blackmail or any form of coercive behaviour then that abuse can include Financial Abuse. Such behaviour is a criminal offence.
Examples of Financial Abuse include:
- Preventing someone having control over their own money
- Using credit cards without the owners permission
- Taking out loans or financial arrangements without a person’s permission
- Selling a person’s personal possessions without that persons permission for financial gain
- Transferring assets away from a person with the purpose of depriving them from what is rightfully theirs
Financial abuse can take many forms but it always involves the prevention of a person having access or control over their own financial affairs. A basic right of every individual.
This controlling behaviour can also take the form of preventing a person from accessing education or applying for a job, which although doesn’t directly involve the control of anothers money, it does have the result of preventing that person from making their own decisions and being able to manage their life in a way that could result in having a better job and therefore higher (or any) earnings.
Victims of Financial Abuse can be any age. A child that may have an inheritence, or has received money to be used exclusively for their care and welfare maybe vulnerable to abuse by a parent or guardian.
People in relationships where one partner has a controlling or even violent personality are extremely vulnerable to Financial Abuse. Being denied access to money, or being given very small amounts of money to buy food, clothing and pay bills are just three of the ways that a victim can be financially abused.
The elderly are especially easy targets for abusive family members, or carers, who want to access property, assets or incomes. Putting pressure on an elderly person to make or change a Will is also a form of abuse.
What Can Be Done About Financial Abuse?
If you are a victim of Financial Abuse, the perpetrator is relying on your silence. Speaking out takes considerable courage, but there are a host of organisations that will listen, take you seriously and help you find a way out.
Most of the major financial providers in the country participate in a Financial Abuse Code Of Practice which you can access by clicking here. If you call your financial services provider, contact them online or visit a branch they will listen to you and follow set procedures that are there to offer you advice, help and support.
Many charitable organisations are familiar with dealing with Financial Abuse as part of of their overall framework and will offer you practical guidance on dealing with the situation. A list of such organisations are listed below.
Financial Abuse is a crime, and if you or anyone close to you, including your children, are in immediate danger then call the police. If you can call them but are unable to talk then call 999 followed by 55 and that will tell them that you need help.
If you are not in immediate danger then you may consider contacting any of these organisations or charities.