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It’s a confidential service open to all members, that aims to help those who may be experiencing economic abuse to take back control of their money.
What are the signs of economic abuse?
If your partner, former partner or anyone else is controlling how you make or spend money, or other areas of your life, including housing, food and employment, you may be experiencing economic abuse.
Economic abuse can be difficult to identify. It can develop slowly and could begin with behaviour that at first seems protective or caring, for example, offering to take care of all the finances or encouraging you not to work so that you can look after the children.
Over-spending or building up debts in your name or joint names, can also develop slowly and may not be obvious at first. Some women may have lived with economic abuse for many years, and it can continue after leaving.
Despite the difficulties in recognising economic abuse, it is very common. Gender based research highlights, one in six women in the UK has experienced economic abuse by a current or former partner.
If you are experiencing economic abuse, you are not alone. There are people and organisations who can help you take steps to reach safety and regain control of your finances.
Only take any of the following actions if it is safe for you to do so. You are the best judge of whether taking any actions might lead to further harm.
Economic abuse rarely happens in isolation; it normally happens alongside other forms of domestic abuse. If you are in immediate danger, call the police on 999. Click here for information on how the police can help.
If you are not in immediate danger but need support, you can call a domestic abuse helplineor contact your local domestic abuse service. You can search for your local service on the Women’s Aid website or on Hestia’s Bright Sky app. Many charities have ways to contact them online, which may help you hide the contact from the abuser.
If your are concerned about debt, in the first instance NHS Credit Union can speak to you about a debt consolidation loan, however if you require more specialised help for example: If someone has forced you to make transactions that have led you into debt, it is important to speak to a qualified debt advisor. They can help you to find the right debt solution for you, depending on your circumstances.
Notify NHS credit union to make them aware, by mentioning Safe Harbour or putting this hand emoji in the chat
This alerts the staff member to the fact that you may be experiencing economic abuse. This can be a useful step to help you regain control of your money. Staff will suggest ways of keeping control your finances and ensure any new credit union information is confidential and safe.
To contact the Financial Support line for advice and guidance call the freephone number 08081968845 between 9am–5pm Monday to Friday. Calls are free of charge. For callers whose first language is not English, an interpretation service is available on request.
Under the new Consumer Duty (confirmed in Financial Conduct Authority ‘FCA’ publications PS 22/9 and FG 22/5) a set of higher standards of consumer protection must be implemented across financial services. This requires NHSCU to put their members wellbeing first, with a particular emphasis on treatment of members with characteristics of vulnerability or who may be at a greater risk of harm from economic abuse.