Restrictions on day-to-day spending or being forced to take on debts are amongst the problems victims of domestic abuse face which can trap them in damaging relationships, evidence from the national charity has previously shown.
New findings from a survey of over 2,000 people, carried out for national Citizens Advice by ComRes reveals many people are not aware that domestic abuse extends beyond physical violence:
● 4 in 10 people (39 per cent) are not aware making a partner account for all their spending can constitute domestic abuse
● More than half (55 per cent) do not recognise taking out a loan in a victim’s name without them knowing is a form of abuse
Last year the Government made the welcome announcement that it would address non-physical abuse and make ‘coercive control’ illegal.
Richard Wilkinson, Chief Officer said:
“Financial abuse is going under the radar. There are lots of ways a person can financially abuse their partner, including controlling their money and making them financially dependant. This lack of control over your own finances can make it hard for people to see a way out.
“The announcement of a new law on ‘coercive control’ is a welcome first step that Citizens Advice Bolton is seeking to build on by ensuring people have a better understanding of the different forms domestic abuse can take.”
The Citizens Advice report Controlling money, controlling lives last year revealed that victims of financial abuse had access to their bank accounts restricted, were stolen from and had their property destroyed.
Some victims sought help from Citizens Advice after being left with huge debts when they were forced to take out loans for their abuser. The financial abuse was in some cases accompanied by intimidation, physical violence and repeated death threats.
If you are experiencing domestic violence or abuse, or you are concerned someone you know might be in an abusive relationship, you can seek help by calling confidential freephone helplines:
● If the victim is a woman, you can get help from the confidential National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline on 0808 2000 247
● If the victim is a man, you can get help from the Men’s Advice Line on 0808 801 0327
● If the victim is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, you can get specialised help from Broken Rainbow on 0300 999 5428
You can also come in to seek help around domestic abuse from Citizens Advice Bolton and online at www.citizensadvice.org.uk.
To highlight the many forms of abuse that exists, Citizens Advice Bolton has outlined the Home Office’s official definition of domestic abuse as:
“Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:
Controlling behaviour is defined as: “a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.”
Coercive behaviour is defined as: “an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.”