Financial and economic abuse

What it is, spotting the signs, and how to get support

Financial and economic abuse are a form of domestic abuse and anyone can be a victim. It's where someone you have a relationship with restricts your financial freedom. This doesn’t only mean a romantic partner – it could also be a family member, parent, carer or friend.

What does financial abuse look like?

  • Insisting their name is added to your bank or savings accounts, or stopping you from accessing your accounts
  • Insisting you give them your salary or benefit payments
  • Running up debts in your name with or without your knowledge. For example, credit cards or credit agreements for mobile phones or car finance, or forcing you to take out additional lending on a property
  • Forcing you to put all household bills in your name and/or refusing to contribute
  • Cashing your pension or cheques without your permission
  • Not allowing you to earn or spend any money unless you have their permission

What does economic abuse look like?

  • Stopping you from going to work, college or university

  • Isolating you – for example, not allowing you to access a mobile phone, car or other utilities, or stopping you from making or receiving phone calls
  • Stopping you from spending money on essentials
  • Not allowing you to buy pet food or access care for your pet
  • Deliberately forcing you to go to the family courts so you have to pay additional legal fees 
  • Making education, training or employment difficult for you, so you’re financially dependent on them
  • Damaging possessions which you have to replace
  • Making it harder for you to buy food or pay for transport

We're here to help

We will listen and make sure we understand your situation. Then we’ll suggest ways we can help you get control of your accounts. Here are some examples:
  • Help you update your contact details to make sure your information reaches you and only you
  • Help you prevent any further debt from accruing in your name due to the abuse and coercion
  • Give you more time to think about things before making a decision 
  • Deferral of a decision to a later date

Contact Us

  • If you have an offset mortgage and are worried your savings are at risk, please let us know as soon as possible by calling us on 0345 1200 100 and choose the savings option. 
  • If you feel you're being forced into something you do not want to do (for example, applying for a mortgage or being removed from one), please let us know as soon as possible by calling us on 0345 1200 100 and choose the mortgage option.
  • If you're struggling to pay your mortgage, or worried you can’t make your payment, please call us on 0800 138 2402 (9am-5pm Mon-Fri and 9am to 1pm Saturday) and choose the mortgage option. 
  • If you're registered for online services, you can also get in touch by secure message.

Additional Support

If you feel that your accounts are safe, but would like some additional support, please complete our Extra Support form. This support includes:
  • A longer appointment
  • Giving you longer to make any decisions
  • Where you are present, allowing us to speak to third parties on your behalf
Please note: if you do request extra support, we will not contact you directly about this.

More information

If you’re affected by domestic abuse, there are organisations who can help. Whether that’s helping you move to a safe place, legal advice, or other types of practical help.
  • UK Finance - It’s your money
  • Surviving Economic Abuse (SEA) – a UK charity which raises awareness of economic abuse. Together with the Money and Pension Service, they have a free helpline (0808 1968845, Mon-Fri, 9am-1pm and 2pm-5pm). If your first language isn’t English, an interpreter is available. More information is available here.
  • If you’re worried that loans or credit cards could have been taken out in your name, you can check your credit file. There are three main credit reference agencies you can contact: 

In an emergency

  • Call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247. This is a free 24 hour service.
  • If you’re in immediate danger, call the police on 999
  • Remember the Silent Solution System. If you are unable to speak when the operator answers, press 55 to let them know you are in danger and can’t speak.