November 2022

Financial abuse is a serious form of trauma and a criminal act

It can affect anyone – a partner in a relationship, an elderly person in a home, or even a child. Financial abuse involves a perpetrator who steals or forcibly takes money from someone for their own gain. There are many instances of financial abuse.

An elderly person might be persuaded to sign over their house or checks to a caregiver, under the threat of other abuse. The caregiver, for example, may tell the elderly person that they will not receive care unless they hand over money.

An abusive partner may threaten, cajole, or otherwise force a partner to hand over assets or earnings to avoid other abuse. The abusive partner may force the victim to take out signature loans or other debts which the perpetrator then uses for their own ends.

A parent may force a child to work long hours at a part-time job and may retain all the earnings for their own use.

In many cases, financial abuse is accompanied by threats or other forms of abuse (including verbal abuse, physical abuse, or emotional abuse). However, financial abuse can also occur on its own. This form of fraud is especially troubling because it tends to target persons who are already vulnerable and takes away the financial means victims have to leave an abusive relationship.…