Posted: 21.10.20 at 16:41 by MICHELLE HOSKIN
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Michelle Hoskin is a Hitchin based businesswoman who has lived in the town for nearly 20 years.
She's mum to Ruby who currently attends Whitehill Junior School and was the lead event organiser for Hitchin Fireworks for three years.
In her professional capacity she is a professional speaker and coach and was the second professional advisor to qualify as a financial abuse specialist and has more than 20 years experience working within the financial advice marketplace.
Read on for her essential advice on avoiding financial abuse
FINANCIAL ABUSE – SIGNS AND OPTIONS
'Abusers always work from home’ was a main feature on billboards up and down our roads throughout lockdown.
Like many forms of abuse, financial abuse often starts with incremental actions with subtle signs that ‘things’ are not as they should be.
While many are unfamiliar with the issue, some of us may have experienced it in a former relationship, know friends and family who are going through it now, or may even still be living the nightmare.
Most of us understand all too clearly that physical abuse and emotional torture are simply not acceptable as part of a normal and loving relationship.
Even if many haven’t heard of financial abuse, they may be familiar with some of its symptoms.
By definition: financial abuse is a tactic used by abusers to gain power and control in a relationship.
The forms of financial abuse may be overt, but, in general, include tactics to limit the partner’s access to assets or conceal information and accessibility to the family finances.
It is believed senior financial abuse will become one of the major crimes of the 21st century.
So what does it look like and how can it be avoided?
Perhaps, you’ve been forced into a career that you wouldn’t normally have chosen for yourself.
It keeps you from succeeding as you’d like to.
It’s a daily grind, doing something you don’t love for an hourly rate. Your partner may even bandy around ultimatums: choose the job or the relationship!
Others won’t allow you to have your own bank account or spending money. They only hand out the ‘housekeeping’ money, and keep their partner financially dependent for every pound.
Others track every penny, forcing their spouse to hand over each and every receipt in order for them to see exactly how the money has been spent, checking that no cash withdrawals have been made or funds skimmed from their payments.
Some threaten to leave, and being the sole source of income for the family, the partner stays in place, knowing their livelihood and that of their children depends on the breadwinner.
So what to do?
It’s a complex area and advice to ‘leave’ isn’t always appropriate, although is likely the ultimate goal.
Relationships based on power and abuse aren’t about love, trust and commitment. However, many feel that their partner may turn physically abusive if they don’t get their own way financially.
Reaching out to trusted friends and family members is a good place to start. Perhaps you need to plan an exit over time.
Others are happy to cut and run. Do you need to find a shelter or somewhere to house you and the children while you get back on your feet?
Are you able to get part-time work with funds directed to a new account to start saving for a new life?
Dog walking, cleaning, car-washing or baby-sitting can provide cash funds to be stashed for when the day comes. Do you have a hobby that can be monetised?
Can family and friends help with donations that can be repaid when you’re financially stable once again?
Are you able to do an online course or vocational training to bring your skills up to date?
Financial abuse is a complex area, and ensures low self-esteem and feelings of poor self-worth where the abuser is happy to be in a position of power and keep their partner down-trodden.
Should you wish to seek professional ‘financial’ support and advice please email [email protected] and my team shall be very happy to put you in contact (confidentially) with a financial abuse specialist
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