Family Violence
May 14, 2024
Crime Prevention
What is Financial Abuse?

What is Financial Abuse?

While physical violence is more widely recognised, there are many other forms of abuse. These include threats and intimidation, controlling someone’s access to money or isolating someone from their friends and family.

Financial abuse occurs in 98% of abusive relationships and is the number one reason victims stay in or return to abusive relationships.

An estimated 4.2 million adults (21%) have experienced partner violence or abuse since the age of 15, which includes 16% of women and 7.8% of men have experienced partner economic abuse (Australian Bureau Statistics 2021) 

Financial abuse refers to a form of control and manipulation where one person uses money or financial resources to exert power and control over another individual. It can occur within various types of relationships, including intimate partnerships, family dynamics, caregiver relationships, or even within professional settings. Financial abuse can take many forms and can have significant and long-lasting consequences for the victim's financial well-being and overall independence.

How to detect common examples of financial abuse:

Controlling Finances

The abuser may control all financial decisions and resources, such as controlling access to bank accounts, restricting the victim's access to money, or withholding funds needed for basic necessities.

Forced Economic Dependency

The abuser may deliberately prevent the victim from working or pursuing education and career opportunities, thereby making them financially dependent and unable to leave the abusive relationship.

Sabotaging Employment or Income:

The abuser may sabotage the victim's job or career prospects by causing them to lose their job, interfering with their work performance, or preventing them from attending work.

Exploiting Financial Resources:

The abuser may exploit the victim's financial resources for their own benefit, such as using their credit cards without permission, stealing money or assets, or coercing them into signing over property or assets.

Debt and Credit Manipulation:

The abuser may accumulate debt in the victim's name without their knowledge or consent, damage their credit score, or prevent them from accessing credit or financial services.

Isolation and Control:

The abuser may isolate the victim from their support network or community resources, making it harder for them to seek help or escape the abusive situation.

Using Children as Pawns:

The abuser may use children as a tool for financial manipulation, such as threatening to withhold child support payments or using access to children as leverage to control the victim's behavior.

Financial Exploitation of Vulnerable Adults:

In cases involving elderly or vulnerable adults, caregivers or family members may exploit their financial resources for personal gain, such as stealing money, forging signatures on financial documents, or coercing them into changing their will.

Seeking help can be scary but there are resources out there that can help you. Call 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) as they are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you are an immediate danger, please call Triple Zero (000) to seek immediate assistance.

Get Police Assistance

For all emergencies and immediate Police assistance
Call: 000
To report non-urgent crimes or events 24 hours a day
Call: 131 444
To report information about a crime contact Crime Stoppers on
1800 333 000

Suggested reading just for you

Discover more Family Violence articles.

Family violence support services

If you are worried about unhealthy, abusive or violent behaviour in any of your relationships, these are some of the many services available to support you.
Read More

What is family violence?

Family violence in any form is unacceptable. But sometimes people may not even realise that what they’re experiencing is violence or abuse. Knowing what family violence is and where to get help is vital.
Read More

What to do if you or someone you know is experiencing family violence

If you or someone you know or care about is in an unhealthy, abusive or violent relationship, there are some simple things you can do to get help or provide support.
Read More

Keep up to date with our tips, news and events

Subscribe to our newsletter
Connect With Us

Neighbourhood Watch Victoria acknowledges the 38 mobs, the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we operate, live, and gather as employees and volunteers. We recognise their continuing connection to land, water and community and pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging.

At Neighbourhood Watch, we believe everyone has the right to feel safe and welcome. We are committed to ensuring diversity, inclusion and equity are embedded throughout our organisation – in the work we do, the services we deliver and among our staff, volunteers, and the communities we work with.