My money, my life

Financial abuse infographic

1 in 5 people in the UK have experienced financial abuse in an intimate relationship.

Refuge, in partnership with The Co-operative Bank, has launched a powerful campaign “My money, my life” to shine a spotlight on this often overlooked form of abuse of domestic abuse and call for industry-wide agreement to support people who experience financial abuse in their relationships.

Refuge and The Co-operative Bank have joined forces to carry out the UK’s largest study to date to uncover the true scale of financial abuse within intimate partner relationships. The research , led by academic Nicola Sharp-Jeffs at the Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit (CWASU), London Metropolitan University, found that:

  • 18 per cent of all adults in the UK have been a victim of financial abuse
  • Victims span gender, age and income groups; however, 60 per cent of all cases are reported by women
  •  Financial abuse in relationships against women also lasts for a longer period of time compared to men, with 78 per cent of women saying their abuse went on over five years compared to 23 per cent of men
  • For women, financial abuse rarely happens in isolation – 86 per cent experience other forms of abuse
  • A third of financial abuse victims suffer in silence, telling no-one

Purse with coinsBased on this research the “My money, my life” campaign will inform those experiencing financial abuse about their rights and empower them to make positive choices about their own financial future. Refuge has produced a financial guide as a support resource for women who have experienced financial abuse and will be working with The Co-operative Bank to drive change across the banking sector.

What is financial abuse?
Financial abuse is a way of controlling a person’s ability to acquire, use and maintain their own money and resources.

Financial abuse can take many forms. Abusers may prevent you from earning or accessing your own money; spend or take your money without your consent; build up debts in your name; damage your possessions or property. If you are separated and have children, the abuser might withhold child maintenance payments.

If you are worried you might be experiencing financial abuse, we can support you.