I was drawn to an article last week that was published by NerdWallet all about financial control. That got me thinking about the punishing financial after-effects of what we help our clients to do… survive and escape!
The financial mayhem that develops after escaping an abuser is not easy to deal with. There can be damage to a former victim’s credit history, the effect that has on future mortgage applications, rental agreements, credit cards, and loans, even on opening a bank account – in fact any situation that requires a financial examination.
Many survivors might decide that declaring insolvency or entering into an Individual voluntary arrangement (IVA) is the best option for them but, while this does draw a line under historical problems, there can still be a knock-on effect on obtaining most financial products. Strangely, home and car insurance premiums may escalate, or insurance might even be refused.
When the burden of all this mess is borne by the survivor, and the perpetrator gets away scot-free, something is clearly not right.
For years on end a victim may suffer with financial abuse but, even when that hugely difficult and courageous decision is taken to leave, the abuse continues. Nowadays records are kept more or less forever: non-disclosure could be deemed as a fraudulent application and land the victim with a criminal record.
There is a lot of work for the credit agencies and the wider financial industry to do here, I think. Could it not be made possible for someone to reset their credit history and purge the information that was collected during an abusive relationship, leaving a survivor to be able to escape their abuser once and for all?
Martin Lewis considered this subject and he clearly thinks that the depth of this problem is far greater than just giving advice on how to recognise the symptoms. Great practical tips and information can be found here https://blog.moneysavingexpert.com/2019/06/martin-lewis–financial-abuse–joint-accounts-and-managing-money/ there are some other great links to be found there too.
More great advice is available here https://survivingeconomicabuse.org/
Mark Groves, CEO
Financial Abuse often occurs alongside other forms of domestic abuse and is part of a pattern of behaviour called ‘coercive control’. If you or someone you know is experiencing financial abuse, there is help, advice and support available. Call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0800 2000 247, which is a confidential 24-hour service run by Refuge.