Joseph J. Colarusso, Attorney at Law
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How does financial abuse factor into domestic abuse?

One of the more shadowy aspects of domestic violence is that many Connecticut victims, though subject to physical or emotional abuse, feel they cannot break away from their tormentor because an abusive spouse or partner is controlling the purse strings. The Huffington Post recently reported that financial abuse is a feature in 99 percent of abusive relationships, an astonishing figure that means almost every domestic abuse victim will suffer financial torment as well.

Financial oppression can take many forms. Some involve the abuser taking control over the victim’s money. The victim may be left with no way to spend the money, or may spend the money but the victim’s expenses are highly scrutinized by the abuser. The oppressor in the relationship may demand to see all the victim’s receipts. At times the victimizer opts to shut off the cash flow so completely that the victim and even the victim's children cannot buy food or medicine unless they submit to the oppressor’s demands.

An oppressor could also use the victim’s identity for lavish spending purposes. Financial abusers may open up a credit card account in their partner or spouse’s name and rack up large quantities of debt without getting the permission of the partner. A victim may end up liable for debts that the victim did not personally spend a dime on, which can lead to bad credit, financial ruin and a damaged reputation.

Because so many abuse victims have their money tied up by an oppressive partner, they do not feel they can break away. However, Connecticut offers assistance to abuse victims, including domestic shelters to house victims and their family members. Additionally, the courts can help victims access joint accounts in which the victim owns a stake in the assets, or a personal account that the victim owns but the victim’s abuser may have tapped into through coercising the victim.

This article is intended to educate readers on financial abuse as a component of domestic violence and should not be taken as legal advice.

 

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