Options for support

Financial Abuse: If you suspect it, what should you do?

Financial Abuse Support Toolkit - Video 3

3 women with lived experience of financial abuse discuss their personal experiences. They explain what happened in their situations before and during the abuse occurred. The 1800RESPECT Clinical Engagement Manager summarises what financial abuse can look like, and how to reach out for support. Participants in this video are speaking about the effects of financial abuse. If this video causes distress, you can contact 1800RESPECT on 1800 373 732 or via web chat to speak to a counsellor, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Where do I start?

It can be difficult to know how to make the first step when you have been impacted by financial abuse. Depending on your situation, the steps may be different. It is important to know there are organisations and programs that can support you.

Here are some things to consider when reaching out for support:

  • Be in a safe space
  • Call 1800RESPECT for information, referrals and counselling
  • If you don’t know what to say to the counsellors, start by telling them about your situation and asking “is this normal” or “is this abuse?” (For most of our callers, this is the first time they’ve spoken about it, it may take time for you to find the right words.)
  • Work with support networks for safety planning and financial planning. See the cards below for more information or search our service directory for services in your area
  • Stay in touch with your support and counselling networks.

Who can provide support?

There are a number of organisations and programs that can assist people impacted by financial abuse.

Types of support available include:

  • Financial support
  • Housing assistance
  • Debt assistance
  • Legal support
  • Domestic violence crisis services
  • Financial management
  • Employment services
  • Counselling services.

You can access support to recover from financial abuse at any stage of your journey.

1800RESPECT is Australia’s national sexual abuse, domestic and family violence counselling service. We offer information, counselling and referrals to anyone impacted by financial abuse. You can access this service even if you are unsure what you are experiencing is abuse.

You can also get free confidential advice from a financial counsellor by calling the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 between 9.30am and 4.30pm. You can also find a financial counsellor in your area on our website.

What a financial counsellor does

Financial counsellors work with people in financial hardship, and provide advice on:

  • Mortgage payments or rent
  • Credit cards and personal loans
  • Utility bills including phone and internet
  • Joint debts and priority debts
  • Centrelink issues
  • Negotiating with creditors
  • Generally sorting out your finances.

The National Debt Helpline website provides step by step guides on how to tackle all common financial problems.

What does the first step look like?
Who can help me regain control of my money?
Who can help me with the impacts of financial abuse?
Can I get financial assistance?
How do I start the conversation?
Can I ask my bank for assistance?
I do not have access to a mobile phone or other technology to communicate.
Is there a checklist I can use to make sure I am getting the support I need?
How can I support someone who is experiencing financial abuse?

For support networks

Supporting someone who has been impacted by domestic and family violence can be difficult. Friends and family who are supporting someone who has been experiencing financial abuse are also able to reach out for support.

If you are supporting someone who has been impacted by financial abuse, you can call 1800RESPECT for information and counselling.

You can also support by raising awareness and sharing information on financial abuse. 1800RESPECT has resources available to promote the Financial Abuse Support Toolkit.