Woman looking forward

Financial abuse: the invisible weapon of domestic violence.

Financial abuse is a form of domestic violence that keeps victims trapped in abusive relationships. Financial empowerment is the key to helping victims break free.

1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence.

Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive, controlling behavior that affects millions of individuals across the US regardless of age, economic status, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ability, or education level. While it affects us all, most victims are women.

Domestic violence often begins subtly and progresses over time. Learn the signs and use these resources if you or a friend experience these behaviors from a partner.

Signs of Financial Abuse.

99% of domestic violence cases include financial abuse. It’s one of the main reasons survivors say they were unable to leave an abusive partner or had to return to one. Below are several ways an abuser may try to take control of their partner’s financial resources.

An illustration of money.

Expenses

Does your partner limit or decide how you spend money?

Learn more

Illustration of a theif.

Cards

Does your partner use your credit/debit cards without your knowledge?

Learn more

An illustration of a alert symbol.

Accounts

Does your partner lock you out of your own or shared bank accounts?

Learn more

An illustration of a flag.

Employment

Does your partner prevent you from working or attending school?

Learn more

An illustration of an information sign.

Financial Plans

Does your partner exclude you from important financial meetings?

Learn more

An illustration on no credit cards.

Debt

Does your partner overuse your credit cards?

Learn more

Financially Empower Yourself.

Oftentimes financial abuse is not preventable and it is never the victim’s fault. However, there are proactive steps you can take to financially empower yourself and improve your financial health. Click through to find additional information in The Allstate Foundation’s Moving Ahead Curriculum designed to help survivors achieve and maintain financial independence following abuse.

A woman checking her credit report

Learn how credit works.

  • Know what’s in your credit report.
  • Know how many lines of credit are open in your name.
  • If it makes sense for you, open a credit card in your name. While this can decrease your credit in the short-term, using it responsibly over time will increase your score in the longer-term.
  • Make loan payments, including credit cards, on time.
  • If possible, pay more than the minimum amount.

Learn more on pages 53-72 of our Moving Ahead Curriculum.

Woman typing on her laptop

Use financial platform security settings.

  • This includes bank account numbers, credit card numbers, and more.
  • Only access your accounts and transmit financial information over a secure connection.
  • Consider who else has access to your devices.
  • Securely store or shred paper statements.

Learn more about password security, including using two-factor authentication.

Learn more about iPhone privacy and security.

A woman using an ATM machine

Protect your personal financial information.

  • This includes bank account numbers, credit card numbers, and more.
  • Only access your accounts and transmit financial information over a secure connection.
  • Consider who else has access to your devices (and by extension your saved information there).
  • Securely store or shred paper statements.

Learn more on pages 24-27 of our Moving Ahead Curriculum.

A woman checking her mailbox

Secure important documents.

  • This could include your birth certificate, social security card, or documents proving ownership, like of a car or home.
  • Consider using a safety deposit box. If that’s not an option, consider storing these documents at the home of a trusted family member or friend.
  • These documents can be costly or time-consuming to replace. They are often needed to secure employment, obtain safe housing, or transfer assets.

Learn more on page 12 of our Moving Ahead Curriculum.

Starting a Conversation with a Victim.

As a friend, family member or co-worker of someone in an abusive relationship, it’s easy to feel powerless. But you can do your part by starting a conversation, offering support and suggesting ways to get help. Here are some tips to get the discussion going.

The National Network to End Domestic Violence.

Find more information about domestic violence and financial abuse through The National Network to End Domestic Violence’s census report and website.

Immediate assistance

If you or a friend are in danger, please call 911. If you are in need of immediate response or local referrals, call a local hotline or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-800-787-3224

If you’re in danger and need to quickly close this page, use the safety exit.x icon.

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