Debt and Domestic Abuse

What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse refers to a pattern of incidents of controlling behaviour, violence and abuse. It can be physical or psychological In the majority of cases abuse is by a partner or ex-partner, but it can also be caused by a family member or carer and can happen during a relationship or after it has ended.

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Types of domestic abuse can include:

  • Financial
  • Physical
  • Emotional or Psychological
  • Privilege
  • Isolation

The effects of domestic abuse can spread into family or friendship groups as relationships could be affected by changes in the abuser or the victim’s behaviour.

Domestic abuse and debt

Domestic abuse can happen as a result of money problems within a relationship. A lack of money or a debt can cause conflicts and this can result in one person controlling the other – physically or verbally. However, you may be unaware that you are experiencing domestic abuse. You may find:

  • Your finances are restricted or money is taken away from you
  • You may not have any knowledge of the household income or bills
  • You may not be allowed to work or be forced to work
  • You may have debts taken out in your name without knowledge

If any of the above apply to you, you may wish to seek advice.

How do we help domestic abuse sufferers with debt?

Our Vulnerable Client Team are experts in understanding and supporting clients who need extra support, like those being affected by domestic abuse. Not everybody will openly admit they are experiencing domestic abuse and our team are trained to listen out for early signs. We can support you by offering tailored communication to meet your needs, by understanding how we can help prevent any further detriment, and by offering a completely confidentiality service which is paramount for your safety. PayPlan advisers work closely with creditors to offer you breathing space. This offers vulnerable clients more time to manage their debts and reduce immediate money worries. We can also help by sharing with you details of organisations or charities that can help you.

How to spot the signs of domestic abuse

Recognising domestic abuse and stopping it early is crucial to keeping you, or somebody you know, safe. A domestic abuse sufferer may:

  1. Have changed personality and has low self-esteem
  2. Skip work or social occasions more frequently
  3. Constantly check in with their partner
  4. Have unaccountable marks on their body
  5. Wear clothes that cover more of their body than normal

If you find that somebody close to you has changed their behaviour and you have suspicions of domestic abuse, it may be wise to offer your support or provide some information about an advice service like Refuge who they can talk to in confidence. The same applies to you if you feel you are suffering. Every minute is crucial.

Help a friend if they’re being abused

If you’re worried a friend is being abused, let them know you’ve noticed something is wrong. They might not be ready to talk, but try to find quiet times when they can talk if they choose to.

If someone confides in you that they’re experiencing domestic abuse:

  • Listen, and take care not to blame them.
  • Acknowledge it takes strength to talk to someone about the abuse.
  • Give them time to talk, but don’t push them to talk if they don’t want to.
  • Tell them nobody deserves to be threatened or beaten, despite what the abuser has said.
  • Support them as a friend – encourage them to express their feelings, and allow them to make their own decisions.
  • Don’t tell them to leave the relationship if they’re not ready – that’s their decision and it may put them at more risk.
  • Ask if they have suffered physical harm – if so, offer to go with them to a hospital or GP.
  • Help them report the assault to the police if they choose to be ready to provide information on organisations that offer help for people experiencing domestic abuse.

Act now and get help

If you feel you or somebody you know is experiencing domestic abuse, please contact the appropriate organisations immediately for help and advice. We’d advise getting in touch with:

  • National Advice Line (Refuge & Women’s Aid)
  • Men’s Advice Line & ManKind
  • Gallop (LGBT)

We are here to help clients experiencing domestic abuse with their financial worries. If you need debt help contact a member of our team in confidence, at https://www.payplan.com/debt-help/