Financial Abuse – All You Should Know and How To Get Help

- by Becky Hall

Financial abuse can happen to anyone. Here is a really useful guide from Cashfloat on how to help yourself or anyone close to you who is suffering.

Learn with Cashfloat about financial abuse and get help today!

What is Financial Abuse?

Financial abuse is a form of domestic abuse. Financial abuse is defined as one adult controlling another adult’s access to their money and/or not allowing them to earn money. As a result, the victim is forced to be dependant on the abuser for finance. Financial abuse can leave the victim lacking self-confidence, feeling isolated, and trapped. Both women and men can fall victim to financial abuse, the perpetrator can be a family member, friend, partner or carer.

Did you know, those suffering from financial abuse can prosecute their abusers under the 2015 legislation that covers all forms of ‘coercive and controlling behaviour’. If you feel scared or itimidated, report it to the police.

Am I Experiencing Financial Abuse?
  • Are you being restricted from access to money from a spouse/caregiver, even for essential items?
  • Has anyone borrowed credit, like a wage day advance in your name without your consent?
  • Has anyone pressed you to add their name to your account?
  • Did anyone ask you to change your will?
  • Has anyone spent your household budget without telling you?
  • Are you being asked to account for everything you have spent?

If you can answer yes to any of these questions and you think you are being abused, call one of the helplines below for free advice.

Watch the story of financial abuse survivor, Sarah. This single mum of one was left with £26,000 in debt after 5 years of financial abuse.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Financial Abuse?

It is important to know the signs of financial abuse so you can help anyone that may be suffering: Here are some tell-tale signs you can look out for:

  • They lack money to pay for essentials, such as food and toiletries
  • There are some changes to their standards of living, i.e. they don’t have things they normally would have
  • They lack access to money which they can’t explain
  • The person seems distant or troubled
  • They don’t have debit or credit cards on them and are not sure how much is in their bank accounts
Nobody deserves to be alone, get the help you need! - Cashfloat

How Can I Help My Friend Suffering From Financial Abuse?

There are many ways you can help your friend who has confided in you that they are suffering from financial abuse. Firstly, you should give them a contact number of charities they can get in touch with. These charities are specially trained to guide these sensitive situations, so encourage your friend to make that call. They will support your friend emotionally and practically. Secondly, if you are in a position to help your friend financially, give them some money without any strings attached and make sure they use it for themselves.

CharityWebsite and Phone Number
National Domestic Violence
0808 2000 247*
01823 334244
National LGBT and Domestic Abuse
0800 999 5428

Are You Worried Your Partner Has Taken Out Credit in Your Name?

If you have this worry, it is quite simple to find out. All you have to do is check your credit report (which you can do for free). Look to see if there are any products you do not recognise applying for. If you spot something you do not recognise, it is fraud, and most likely, you won’t need to pay it back. Report your findings to the police or your bank.

Should I Have a Joint Account?

Within the context of financial abuse, having a joint account may seem bad. However, for those in a long-term, loving and stable relationship, it may not be such a bad idea at all. Joint accounts are not advisable too early in a relationship. The most common type of joint account, according to is one which a couple only uses the account to pay bills. Our advice: give your relationship time to get to know your partner and their money habits before committing to join finances together.

A quick credit check will show you if someone has taken out credit in your name - Cashfloat

Samantha’s Story✝

I met Kevin back in 2012. It was all love and romance at the beginning, but just a few months after we moved in with each other, Kevin begun asking to see my bank statement every month to see what I was spending money on. If there was an expense he didn’t like, he would shout at me, condescend me for being so irresponsible and ‘punish’ me by taking away my bank card. Not long after, he demanded that I pay all the bills (even though we initially agreed to pay half each). This left me with little to no money in my account, and the little I did have left I was so scared to spend in case he might not approve.

To make things worse, Kevin began to also restrict my time with family and friends, insisting I can only go out if I’m with him. He also used to check my phone on a daily basis, and confiscate it if he felt I was contacting people ‘he didn’t like’. I felt so isolated and alone. In 2016, there was a month when I had to survive on nearly nothing since he had control over all the money. That’s when I decided that if I wanted things to change, I had to be the one to change them. It took every ounce of courage I had, but eventually, I got in touch with Women’s Aid who literally held my hand every step of my way out of my abusive relationship. I am still affected by the abuse I endured; my family had to lend me thousands just to pay back the debts he built up, but I am so much happier. I know it seems hard to make that first move, but I promise you, it’s worth it!

Samantha’s abuse, like the vast majority of cases of financial abuse, was connected to other forms of domestic abuse, including physical and emotional abuse.

✝Based on a true story. Names have been changed.


It’s hard to talk about financial abuse, but it’s much harder not to. If you are suffering, know there is help out there and you are not alone. Be brave and reach out for help like Samantha did. Get the help you deserve today. Because NOBODY DESERVES TO BE ABUSED

Get hel today for financial abuse. Call 0808 2000 247  - Cashfloat
Get hel today for financial abuse. Call 0808 2000 247  - Cashfloat
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About The Author
Becky Hall
Becky transitioned from accounting to financial blogging unexpectedly after earning a first-class degree in Business and Accounting. Initially a freelance bookkeeper, Becky’s exposure to frequent cash flow issues among clients sparked her interest in financial education.
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