Publish Date: 20/08/2018
If someone forcibly controls another person's money or other assets, it is financial abuse – and it occurs in almost all abuse relationships. It is usually part of a larger pattern of domestic violence aimed at gaining and retaining power in a relationship and creating dependence on the abuser.
It is your right to manage your money and be financially independent, and if you or someone you know is in a financially abusive relationship, we urge you to get help. Sadly, financial abuse is something that is rarely discussed openly because of the shame attached to having to account for every penny spent or having to ask for money just to purchase the very basic necessities in life.
Here are eight signs that you may be in a financially abusive relationship:
Financial abuse is not limited to a marriage relationship but occurs with the elderly, parent-to-child relationships, between friends and so on. Elder financial abuse, for example, involves someone targeting an older adult, often a parent or other close relative, in the hope of being allowed access to his or her financial information. The abuser may act as if they are simply helping manage the senior's finances, but instead, start limiting access to funds, start pocketing money and convincing an elderly person to sign legal financial documents.
Financial abuse can lead to debt
Magauta Mphahlele, CEO of National Debt Mediation Association NDMA, says from a debt management perspective they see financial abuse on a daily basis. “Individuals are forced to incur debt or to be responsible for debt they did not incur,” she says.
The NDMA is registered as an Alternative Dispute Resolution Agent (ADR) with the National Credit Regulator which means it can resolve credit disputes between consumers and credit providers through mediation, conciliation or arbitration.
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