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Financial abuse

  • Financial abuse is sometimes called economic abuse
  • It often involves someone using money in ways that hurt you
  • Financial abuse can include many other things, like stopping you from getting a job or forcing you to get loans you don't want
  • Financial abuse can be a form of domestic and family violence
  • If you or someone you know is experiencing financial abuse, you can contact 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or through online chat

What is financial abuse?

Financial abuse happens when someone uses money or things relating to money to hurt, scare or control you. Someone who is financially abusive might also use things you own, or things you both own, to cause problems for you.

There may be a pattern to the behaviour that happens again and again. Sometimes other types of abuse are going on at the same time. If this kind of abuse is being used to scare and control you it may be domestic and family violence.

Financial abuse might include someone:
  • Stopping you from having money that is yours
  • Forcing you to pay for things you don't want or need
  • Forcing or pressuring you to giving your money to them or someone else
  • Controlling or taking your pension, benefits, or pay
  • Forcing or pressuring you to giving them control of your money, payments, bank accounts or property
  • Forcing or pressuring you to sell your property
  • Taking or selling your property without your permission
  • Forcing or pressuring you to sign documents, such as:
    • A bank loan application
    • A mortgage or lease
    • A credit card application
    • A direct debit contract
    • A phone contract
    • A document that gives someone else control of your money, property or financial decisions
    • A claim for Centrelink payments
  • Taking out loans or running up debts in your name
  • Not letting you use joint bank accounts for normal household expenses
  • Stopping you from working
  • Refusing to pay for things you need, such as food, medicine, or disability-related equipment
  • Refusing to use their money to support you and your children (when they are your partner or the parent of your children)

 Financial abuse can be a form of domestic or family violence. If you or someone you know is experiencing financial abuse it's OK to ask for help.

Who is responsible for financial abuse?

 Financial abuse can happen in any relationship, including with:

  • Boyfriends, girlfriends, partners, husbands or wives
  • Ex-boyfriends, ex-girlfriends, ex-partners, ex-husbands or ex-wives
  • Carers or paid support workers
  • Parents, guardians or other family members
  • Adult children
  • Other people you live with or see often, whether inside or outside the home

None of these people has the right to force or pressure you into letting them control your money or the things you own.