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