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A different kind of abuse

A common but less discussed type of abuse that many suffer at the hands of their abuser is financial abuse. Financial abuse is often an attempt by the abuser to maintain control by restricting access to money or important financial documents. The abuser may also impede a victim’s ability to attend school, go to work, or see family and friends. Victims will often find it difficult to leave their perpetrators because they do not have the funds to take care of themselves or their family, they have poor credit, or they have nowhere to go.

Common signs of financial abuse include:

  • Opening accounts in the victim’s name without their permission
  • Cashing the victim’s paycheck or using their debit or credit cards without consent
  • Interrupting a victim at work or keeping them from attending interviews
  • Forcing the victim to quit a job
  • Using the victim’s personal information to refinance a mortgage or car loan without their knowledge

According to the National Endowment for Financial Education®, 94 to 99 percent of domestic violence victims experience some form of economic abuse. As co-workers, friends, and family members, it is important to watch for warning signs so that steps can be taken to intervene, if necessary.

If you or someone you know needs support, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline 24/7 at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or visit the NDVH online at

Ashley Bales

Ashley Bales

Ashley Bales is a Family Financial Education Specialist headquartered in Madison County.  Her office is located at 137 West Main St., Fredericktown, Missouri. Contact Ashley at 573-783-3303 with questions or comments. MU is an equal opportunity/ADA institution. University of Missouri Extension does not discriminate on the basis of their race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability in employment or in any program or activity.

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