Important facts to know about financial abuse

(EDITORS NOTE: October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The Clinton County Women’s Center interns from Lock Haven University have written articles, which will be published in the Sunday Lifestyle section during the month of October, to raise awareness about domestic violence.)

Did you know that financial abuse is a common tactic used by abusers to gain power and control over their victims?

Financial abuse can be described as a partner controlling your access to money and other resources such as basic living resources, medication and food. Someone may be financially abusive if they steal money from you, make important financial decisions without you, forbid you to work or go to school, overuse your credit cards, stop you from having your own credit cards or bank account, withhold resources such as medications, food, shelter and clothes, interfere with your performance at work, or force you to agree to a power of attorney. If one or more of these is true, you may be in a financially abusive relationship.

If you are in a financially abusive relationship, you can gather information about your assets and debt, and also gather copies of birth certificates, social security cards and bank and benefit statements, and keep those in a safe place such as a friend’s house or a safety deposit box at a bank. Another option to consider is to start saving money, for example keeping change from grocery store visits and keeping bonuses and monetary gifts in a secret account. One final thing to consider is a Protection from Abuse order (PFA). A PFA can remove the abuser from your home, ban them from contacting you and keep them away from you.

You can contact the Clinton County Women’s Center at 570-748-9509. The Clinton County Women’s Center can help with any questions regarding abuse, or you can just talk to someone. All services provided by the CCWC are free and confidential.

Runkle is a senior psychology major at Lock Haven University.