Economic abuse

One of your friends is likely to be suffering economic abuse. Read on to find how to help her.

Did you know?

* 1 in 5 adults in the UK have been economically abused?

* Women are twice as likely as men to be the victim?

* Women between age 30 and 39 are most likely to encounter economic abuse for the first time as they enter new relationships with life partners.

Here are some signs that your friend may need some help:

  • Someone controlling a friend’s access to money – maybe you notice they cancelled gym membership or some other club subscription?  Or a once fashionable friend who never buys herself clothes?
  • Someone controlling what a friend spends money on and what they are allowed to do.  A friend who would have joined a night out or trip to the beach is no longer allowed to go.
  • A friend who has no access to her own resources like a bank account, payment card or smart phone.
  • A friend who has been manipulated, coerced, or tricked into handing over her savings to someone because they are better at managing money or had an urgent need for the cash. 
  • A friend who feels threatened by someone.  Maybe you noticed them whispering when you call, for fear of being overheard, or ducking out on events because someone is preventing them from going.

It is possible that your friend just doesn’t like you anymore 😉.  Or maybe she has quite legitimately reprioritised her finances and is willing to forego that gorgeous pair of shoes or trip to the coast because the happy couple are saving for a house deposit, but it is frightening how many women are being economically abused rather than willingly working toward shared goals– the statistics are such that you almost certainly know someone who is in this situation ☹.

It can be very tricky to raise the subject and it generally takes a kind and brave person to help.  A friend’s new relationship may have brought about a certain amount of comfort and relief around letting a willing and capable partner take control of all that boring finance stuff, but it is never a good idea for any of us to be without our own financial resources.  A good friend would find a kind way to encourage some independence and keep the door open for discussions about financial fairness.  The professional advice is not to ask too many questions as it can make them feel uncomfortable; listen and believe what they say.  It is really important to anyone experiencing economic abuse to have a supportive, non-judgemental confidant.  It can be devastating for anyone who realises they have made a mistake with their choice of partner, but when it involves abuse, it can be very difficult to escape. Economic abuse can be less obvious than other forms of abuse, victims may even be wondering if other couples experience something similar and they are just being selfish or unreasonable? They are likely to be frightened of the consequences of challenging the abuser.

There is a great charity, doing loads of really important work in this area and you could check out their website for some more information from the experts in this field    They also offer a helpline – call or text 0808 1968845 (9am–5pm Monday to Thursday).

Let’s look out for each other ladies as these subtle and pervasive methods of control are still worryingly present in our society.


* Research source

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