What is financial abuse?

Dealing with finances is a necessary, but often tricky skill at the best of times. Often people with disabilities, mental health issues, low income, people of advanced age, and those in abusive relationships are more at risk to become victims of financial abuse.

Financial abuse is the illegal or improper use of one’s funds, property, or assets. Controlling, withholding, restricting or even stealing someone’s money are all forms of financial abuse. Financial exploitation is THE most common form of elder abuse in the country, and 2nd most in Roanoke County & City.

Domestic violence perpetrators often use financial dependency to control their partner. This limits where they can afford to live, where they can afford to go, what they can afford to buy, and if they can save any money.

This method of power and control is so commonly used by domestic violence perpetrators that 99% of domestic violence situations involve financial abuse.

Yes, you read that right, 99%!

The inability to save any money to try to leave their situation often leaves victims of financial abuse experiencing hopelessness and fear.

But there is hope!

There are many ways victims could potentially break free of their situation. They could open a secret savings account, stashing away every unnoticed coin toward a “sunshine fund” to make leaving the situation a reality.  Or, they could utilize representative payee services, where a trained financial professional would manage their finances and protect their assets from their abuser.

And if all else fails or feels too dangerous, they could walk away with no financial means and depend on domestic violence shelters and advocates to assist in meeting their needs until they can afford to begin again…in a new life, free from financial abuse.

If you or someone you know is experiencing financial abuse, please reach out for assistance

  • Adult Abuse/Elder Abuse National Hotline: 800-222-8000
  • Adult Abuse Virginia: 888-832-3858
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-SAFE(7233)
  • Roanoke Domestic Abuse Hotline: 540-580-0775

Domestic Violence Awareness Month: What you need to know

Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October is an important time to bring awareness to the fact that “Love Shouldn’t Hurt.”

It’s also a time to discuss the importance of treatment options for people who use violence in their relationships–such as Batterer’s Intervention program at Family Service–the impact on children of witnessing domestic violence, teen dating violence, and elder abuse. For all these reasons, Family Service is a member of the Family Violence Coordinating Council, along with TAP Domestic Violence Services (TAP DVS), Salvation Army Turning Point, Sexual Assault Response Awareness (SARA), and Children’s Trust.

President and CEO Sharon Thacker and Director of Counseling and Language Access Jamie Starkey serve on the Family Violence Coordinating Council.

For all the ways you can get involved, including Purple Power Days and books to read, download the 30 Days of Awareness Calendar. Also, read “Why Don’t They Leave” by Stacey Sheppard of TAP DVS. She talks about Myths of Domestic Violence and what you can do to help.

How to get involved locally:

Monday, Oct. 8 – Resilience Matters Most (a conference co-sponsored by TAP DVS) at the Jefferson Center 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 12 – A Walk in Their Shoes at Horton Plaza (formerly SunTrust Plaza) 3-5 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 13 – Beauty Behind the Ashes at The Vine Church (1132 Loudon Ave NW)

Saturday, Oct. 20 – Franklin County Family Resource Center 5K and Domestic Violence Awareness event, Boones Mill

Thursday, Oct. 25 – Address Confidentiality Program by the Office of Attorney General and TAP DVS for service providers at the Jefferson Center.

Hot to get involved in #DVAM2018 initiatives:

Put a nail in it– paint your nail purple to have conversations regarding domestic violence and intimate partner violence

Purple Purse Challenge (Allstate Foundation)- raise money for domestic violence and victims

The Power of Purple– wear purple to engage conversations about domestic violence, prevention and advocacy

NO MORE Campaignto end Sexual and Domestic Assault

To learn more about Batterer’s Intervention, tune into Living Local on WFXR on Monday, Oct. 8 and attend If These Walls Could Talk on Thursday, Oct. 11 at 8:30 a.m.