Safe + Sound Blog

Do You Know What Financial Abuse Looks Like?

EmPowerMe Boot Camp

Many are left pondering when asked about financial abuse. What is it? Who is affected by it? Is it really a big deal?

When we hear stories of domestic violence in the media, they most likely involve physical abuse and can be graphic and shocking. Sadly, there is another form of domestic abuse that is insidious and life changing, even if it is not as visibly horrific. Financial abuse, often labeled the “Silent Weapon,” is not easily observable or understood as a type of domestic abuse by the general public. 

Financial abuse does not leave the victim physically bruised or scarred; however, victims find themselves in an economic abyss of hopelessness, betrayal, despair, and feelings of low self-esteem. The tactics of financial abuse – including but not limited to preventing an intimate partner from opening a savings or checking account, coercing a partner to sign financial documents, hiding keys so their partner will be late for or not able to go to work, and limiting access to financial resources –are used by perpetrators to keep their partners financially dependent on them. In fact, the lack of financial resources is the most common reason cited by survivors as to why they stayed with their abuser.

Present in 99% of domestic violence cases, financial abuse has become so prevalent in these relationships that domestic violence organizations are implementing economic empowerment programs to provide support to survivors who have suffered financial abuse at the hands of their abuser. 

In January 2019, Safe+Sound Somerset launched its Financial Empowerment Center with a part-time staff person and assisted 48 clients during the year with supportive listening, housing referrals, career coaching, financial safety planning, developing yearly budgets, credit score review, and building life skills. Through financial literacy workshops, individual coaching, and boot camps, our clients have gained confidence and self-advocacy skills, improved their credit scores, secured safe housing, and reported a sense of financial empowerment. By providing our clients with the tools and resources to achieve financial stability, we are helping them achieve independent lives, free from abuse. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing financial abuse, please call or text Safe+Sound Somerset’s hotline at 866-825-1122

For additional information on domestic violence, financial abuse, and resources available, visit www.safe-sound.org or nnedv.org/content/about-financial-abuse.