Financial Abuse Can Happen To Anyone
Financial abuse is a type of family violence. It often happens alongside other types of violence, such as physical and emotional abuse.
YFS Financial Counsellor, Shannon says “If someone takes away your access to money, manipulates your financial decisions, or uses your money without consent, this is financial abuse. It could even be as simple as not allowing someone to have their own bank account.”
Financial abuse can happen to anyone. The abuser could be your partner, or a family member, carer, or even a friend.
What Are Some Signs That Someone Is Being Financially Abused?
Shannon says, “There are many ways financial abuse can take place, from controlling access to money to using someone’s money without their knowledge.”
Controlling access to money can be restricting access to bank accounts, credit cards or cash, making someone ask permission to spend their own money, denying access to the internet, phone, or transport to prevent someone from working or studying, refusing to contribute to household costs, refusing to provide enough money for living expenses or for costs related to children.
Another sign is using someone’s money without their knowledge or consent. This could be forging signatures, withdrawing large amount of funds from bank accounts, hiding statements, or not passing on mail or using money that was meant for bills or rent.
What Are Some Ways To Prevent Financial Abuse?
Everyone needs to protect themselves from financial abuse. There are a few ways to do this:
- Stay in touch with people you trust and don’t be afraid to talk about any concerns you have
- Learn to recognise and avoid financial scams
- Regularly check bank accounts and credit card statements for unauthorised transactions
- Open your mail and store documents, account logins and passwords in a secure place
- Never sign documents that you don’t understand or are being pressured to sign
- Where possible get independent and confidential legal and financial advice
It’s also important to develop skills and confidence for increased financial wellbeing and decision-making.
If you or someone you know is experiencing financial abuse, YFS Financial Counsellors provide free, independent advice to help build financial wellbeing and resilience. Call YFS on 3826 1500.