Financial and material abuse

What it is

Financial abuse is taking control of someone else’s money to control them or to use for themselves, applying pressure over wills or inheritance, taking out credit in another person’s name. This may be limiting access to money or other resources, or by forcing all financial responsibility onto their victim, while limiting their own ability to contribute financially.

Financial abuse is a common method of abuse and is a type of coercive control, used to exert control in a relationship aimed at reducing the adult’s freedom, current actions and plans for the future.

Who it happens to and who are the perpetrators

The abuser is often a partner or family member to the person being abused. When financial abuse happens in an intimate relationship, it is possible that they are experiencing other types of domestic violence too.

The perpetrator is likely to be someone who is known to the adult and has regular contact with them, such as a:

  • Partner
  • Friend
  • Relative
  • Carer
  • Neighbour
  • Other resident in a residential care home setting

Financial and material abuse may include:

  • Stealing money or possessions
  • Fraud, scamming
  • Rogue trading – eg. unnecessary or overpriced property repairs and failure to carry out agreed repairs or poor workmanship
  • Preventing a person from accessing their own money, benefits or assets
  • Undue pressure or threats in connection with wills, property, inheritance or financial transactions
  • Arranging less care than is needed to save money to maximise inheritance
  • Misuse of personal allowance in a care home
  • Denying assistance to manage/monitor financial affairs
  • Denying assistance to access benefits
  • Misuse of benefits or direct payments in a family home
  • Someone moving into a person’s home and living rent free without agreement or under duress
  • False representation, using another person’s bank account, cards or documents
  • Exploitation of a person’s money or assets, e.g. unauthorised use of a car
  • Misuse of a Power of Attorney, Deputy, Appointee-ship or other legal authority
  • Making the adult account for what they spend their money on
  • Telling the adult what they can spend their money on
  • Forcing the adult to depend on the perpetrator financially
  • Being forced to give up work

Possible signs of financial and material abuse:

  • Missing personal possessions
  • Unexplained lack of money or inability to maintain lifestyle
  • Unexplained withdrawal of funds from accounts
  • Power of attorney or lasting power of attorney (LPA) being obtained after the person has ceased to have mental capacity
  • Failure to register an LPA after the person has ceased to have mental capacity to manage their finances, so that it appears that they are continuing to do so
  • The person allocated to manage financial affairs is evasive or uncooperative
  • The family or others show unusual interest in the assets of the person
  • Signs of financial hardship in cases where the person’s financial affairs are being managed by a court appointed deputy, attorney or LPA
  • Recent changes in deeds or title to property
  • Rent arrears and eviction notices
  • A lack of clear financial accounts held by a care home or service provider
  • Failure to provide receipts for shopping or other financial transactions carried out on behalf of the person
  • Disparity between the person’s living conditions and their financial resources, e.g. insufficient food in the house
  • Unnecessary property repairs

If you are worried that you or an adult you know is being abused report it now, call 01375 511000

Email: safeguardingadults@thurrock.gov.uk

For advice and support go to:

Office of the Public Guardian

Thurrock Centre for Independent Living

Action on Elder Abuse

Women’s Aid

Changing Pathways

Worried about an adult? 01375 511000

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