Hidden in the Everyday
Financial Abuse as a form of Intimate Partner Violence
WomanACT conducted research into women's experiences of financial abuse in the Toronto area.
Hidden in the Everyday draws on qualitative data gathered through surveys and focus groups with service providers and in-depth interviews with survivors. This report examines the experiences and impacts of financial abuse as well as the challenges in confronting it and the opportunities to prevent and address it.
The research was funded by the City of Toronto and conducted with the support of the University of Guelph.
- Financial abuse is a distinct form of abuse that is often accompanied by other forms of abuse including physical, psychological and emotional abuse.
- Financial abuse can involve stealing money, restricting access to household income and benefits, monitoring spending and coerced debt.
- Financial abuse often continues after the relationship has ended. In some cases, financial abuse worsens after separation. Abusers can use financial support systems, including spousal and child support orders, to maintain some financial control and manipulation.
- Financial abuse leads to long-term economic consequences for many women, mainly in the form of debt and damaged credit. These consequences can have a direct impact on a woman’s future housing security as well as her ability to rebuild economic security.
- Financial abuse is a key barrier to women leaving abusive relationships.
- Financial abusive behaviours can be considered normal because of gendered roles and norms related to money, family and relationships.