Financial (economic) abuse, is found in 94% to 99% of all domestically abusive relationships, and yet 78% of people don’t acknowledge it as a form of DV.
Financial abuse can be characterized as a tactic used by abusers to strip their victim of self-sufficiency and/or financial autonomy in an effort to further control and isolate them. This can include actions like:
- Employment-related abuse, such as interfering with or sabotaging the victim’s current employment, or preventing the victim from seeking/securing new employment.
- Cutting a victim off from existing resources, including blocking access to debit/credit cards and bank accounts, forcing the victim to give the abuser all their money, and demanding all bills, such as mortgage/rent, phones, and car insurance, be in the abuser’s name.
- Coerced debt, wherein the victim is forced to sign financial documents or take out loans against their will, or the abuser creates credit cards, loans, or financial accounts in the victim’s name.
These behaviors can have a lasting impact on the victim, making it more difficult to exit the abusive relationship altogether. A survivor’s credit may be destroyed, or they have difficulty getting and/or maintaining housing or transportation. On a national scale, financial abuse causes 8 million days of paid work each year to be lost, the equivalent to 32,000 jobs. The total annual cost of domestic violence in the U.S. as of 2015 had been estimated to be nearly $9 billion.
In the event a victim is seeking to re-establish self-sufficiency and/or leave an abusive situation, it is important to know what resources are available. Should an incident of domestic violence be reported and charged, a victim may be able to access Victim Compensation, which can help pay for expenses that are a result of the reported incident. These expenses can include income from missed work, relocation support, household bills, accessing mental health services, and medical bills. Arkansas Valley Resource Center also provides financial assistance, including, but not limited to direct financial assistance for various expenses and needs, as well as food boxes, clothing, and household supplies. While no financial assistance can be guaranteed, AVRC staff can work to assist a survivor in meeting their needs, either directly through AVRC, Victim Compensation, or other state and local financial resources.
Financial abuse is so much more common that one may think. Know that if you are experiencing this or any form of domestic abuse, you are not alone, and support is available to help you in regaining your financial independence. All you have to do is reach out!
AVRC staff is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year!
415 Colorado Avenue, La Junta, CO 81050
TTY: (719) 384-1938
After Hours Colorado Relay dial 711 or 1-800-659-2656
AVRC is non-discriminatory agency regarding age, race, religion, color, gender, country of national origin, sexual orientation, mental health status, substance use or economic condition.
Stats regarding financial abuse provided by:
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV)
National Network to End Domestic Violence