6 forms of financial violence

Understanding IPV

6 forms of financial violence

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In the context of intimate partner violence (IPV), abusers use various means to establish their power and control the victim’s choices. Violent behaviours aimed at controlling the victim’s finances are very common because they are very effective to limit the victim's choices. Such forms of violence can be very subtle at first, gradually shoring up the abuser’s control until he controls the family’s financial decisions and wealth. This results in financial dependency and may affects the victim’s ability to meet her own basic needs and those of her children in the event of a separation.


Controlling spending and financial management

Criticizing the victim's purchases ; monitoring personal credit card statements ; ridiculing the way the victim manages their money ; imposing financial decisions concerning the victim and the family.


Stealing money

Taking cash without permission ; using a bank card or credit card without the victim’s consent ; using money from a joint account in violation of the initial agreement ; borrowing money under false pretenses or with no intention of fulfilling a repayment agreement; demanding money using force or threats.


Identity fraud

Using known information (birth date, mother’s maiden name, etc.) to impersonate the victim and obtain credit cards, incurring debts in their name, etc.


Limiting access to financial information

Lying about their own personal financial situation or the family’s financial situation; concealing personal income; hiding important bills and notices; etc.


Controlling professional choices

Pressuring the victim to quit working or reduce their work hours (often through guilt about the children’s needs); limiting the victim’s professional development by preventing them from studying; controlling which jobs they can apply for, forcing them to refuse promotions; creating problems for them at work, including absenteeism or difficulty concentrating; forcing the victim to work in their own business for little or no money; etc.


Using money as leverage to keep the victim in the relationship

Threatening to retaliate financially if the victim chooses to leave the relationship: to "cut off" support, to quit their job to avoid paying support, to stop paying joint debts, to break a repayment agreement for money loaned by the victim, etc.

He gradually shut me out of all financial decisions and access to my own money because he said I was «mismanaging». I had an «allowance» of $200 a week for my «personal expenses», i.e. groceries for the five of us, the pharmacy, my gas, clothes for our three children... even though I had a good salary. It was largely insufficient. When I asked for more, he made me believe that we had debts and that it was impossible, or told me that I should simply manage better...

Woman - 43 years old - Survivor


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Bien que la violence conjugale touche majoritairement des femmes, elle peut aussi toucher les hommes et les personnes issues de la diversité sexuelle et de genre. Les services de SOS violence conjugale sont offerts à toutes les personnes touchées par la problématique.

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