What is Financial Abuse?
Unfortunately, there are many forms of domestic abuse, with financial abuse being just one of them. Financial abuse is defined as a form of abuse that involves a person’s property or money being misused, someone being placed under pressure in relation to money, someone being defrauded, or their property or money being stolen. In the instance that this occurs within a relationship, domestic abuse legal services can provide assistance.
Knowing when these services are required can sometimes be tricky, as it can sometimes be subtle and difficult to identify. Similarly, it takes multiple forms, and there are numerous elements to consider. Despite this, it’s normally linked to the following points:
- It doesn’t have to involve a crime, such as fraud or theft.
- It tends to be linked to other modes of abuse.
- Someone’s access to money or purchases is usually controlled.
- The victim tends to be disadvantaged, deprived, or harmed in the process.
- Someone’s belongings or money are often misused by someone else for their own gain.
Who’s at Risk of Financial Abuse?
Anyone can be impacted by financial abuse; however it tends to occur most often in relationships where there’s an unequal balance of power – the most frequently heard about form of this is financial abuse of seniors, where there is typically asymmetric knowledge of banking apps and the internet through which the abuser can pose as a loved one or as someone to trust in order to gain from trusting elderly people easily. Such an imbalance of power can establish itself in one of these other ways also:
- Someone takes medication.
- Someone has a medical condition.
- Someone has a learning disability.
- Someone is a victim of another mode of abuse, including domestic violence or abuse.
Who Commits Financial Abuse?
Much like anyone canbe a victim of financial abuse, anyone can actually carry out financial abuse. This even includes those who are employed to provide care for someone vulnerable. For instance, the following individuals can commit financial abuse:
- Those employed to provide care
- Neighbours, family, friends, and spouses
What are the Signs of Financial Abuse?
Financial abuse in someone else can be tricky to identify; however, there are a few tell-tale signs of financial abuse. Victims of financial abuse might display certain behaviors that are cause for concern when considering financial abuse. These behaviors are listed below:
- A lack of things that the typical person is able to afford (e.g., clothing, grooming products, TV, etc.)
- Withdrawal and isolation from family and friends.
- Inappropriate or unusual purchases in bank statements.
- Deterioration in living standards, wherein they don’t have items that they would usually have.
- An inability to check bank balances or bank accounts.
- A lack of funds to pay for the basics (e.g., food, bills, rent, etc.)
- Unexplained money loss.
What Types of Financial Abuse are There?
As previously mentioned, the lack of clarity surrounding financial abuse can make it tricky to detect and identify. Despite this, though, financial abuse isn’t just related to money; it can also be linked to property and belongings. Essentially, it’s any form of abuse that’s linked to a person’s assets. Therefore, financial abuse can present itself in the following ways:
- Making someone adjust inheritance, property, or wills.
- Misleading someone into poor investments.
- Making someone sell their assets or home without consent.
- Taking money as payment for spending time together.
- Taking benefits or pension payments from someone.
- Stealing belongings or money.
- Borrowing money and not returning it.
What’s the Effect of Financial Abuse?
Naturally, financial abuse makes a person feel very vulnerable; however, the effects run much deeper than this. For instance, victims of financial abuse tend to find their ability to work is affected, some are left in debt and lose sleep because of this, and some are forced to give up their homes and are left homeless as a result. Essentially, financial abuse strips someone of far much more than just their money.