Over the past few years, domestic violence victims have come forward to explain why they decided to stay, and ultimately leave, their abusive relationships.
Battered partners, women and men in relationships where sexual abuse is common, may feel leaving their abuser is an impossible task and that there is simply no way out.
The largest obstacle to overcome is that, in many cases, victims of abusive relationships stay because they are financially dependent on their abuser or are afraid leaving will cause harm to their children, pets or other loved ones.
This is an unfortunate reality many face when deciding to improve their situation and even save their lives.
There are several ways for victims of abusive relationships to take control back in their finances, and ultimately their lives.
In order to establish your financial standing, get a sense for your financial position. If you are not the one in the relationship who handles the household finances, do what you can to learn. It’s important to understand whose names are on bank accounts, credit cards, loans, and know and the balances of each.
You will need to obtain several pieces of valuable information — birth certificates, bank statements, ownership documents, marriage licenses, etc. — in order to paint your full financial picture.
If you do not have access to this information, it’s important to remember to store it in a safe place or with a family member, and to take care when gathering it if you fear any retribution from your abuser. You also do not want to tip your hand if possible.
If possible, change your passwords and PIN numbers, establish solo accounts, check your credit, take your half share of joint accounts, and try to pay off debts.
For more information when obtaining help, contact OneEighty or other victim advocacy agencies.