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Financial abuse is domestic violence

If you're accused of domestic violence, you know that you need help to defend yourself. One of the types of domestic violence that you could be accused of is financial abuse. This kind of abuse is a lesser-known crime in which a person controls another person by controlling his or her finances or access to money.

You may be shocked that you've been accused of such a thing, particularly if you've been in charge of the bills or if you've been the only person who's been working. The other person may accuse you of not allowing him or her to work or not giving you the money that he or she needs to do things that he or she wants to do.

Blocking or controlling access to your financial assets is a type of control asserted by those committing domestic violence in some cases, but that doesn't mean that every situation where a person doesn't get the money he or she wants or needs is a result of abuse. For example, if you live with a boyfriend or girlfriend who is not paying rent because he or she doesn't want to work, then that person is hurting him or herself and making it so that he or she cannot leave without financial help. The only way this would be abuse on your part is if you do not allow this person to work or threaten to control the finances if he or she does.

Another kind of financial abuse can be ruining a person's credit. For example, if your girlfriend allows you to use her credit card to purchase lunch out with your boss, you should not be using that credit card to make additional fraudulent purchases. Making purchases and then failing to make payments on the card can lead to the account going into collections, ruining the person's credit. If you are taking credit cards, debit cards, checks or other financial items and using them for yourself without allowing the other person any access to his or her own accounts, then this is financial abuse.

Source: The Atlantic, "How Money Traps Victims of Domestic Violence," accessed Oct. 18, 2016

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