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Help with economic abuse

We’re here to help you protect your money

If you’re experiencing any kind of domestic abuse, your finances may be affected. We can help you protect your money and find more support for you or someone you know. Refuge, the UK’s largest domestic abuse organisation, can help you understand how to identify abuse

If you’re worried an abuser is watching what you do online, Refuge explain how to hide your online activity in their guide to browsing safely.

You can ask us to contact you

You can use our online form to specify a safe time, and choose whether we contact you by phone, email, or text message.

What could economic abuse look like?

Economic abuse is a legally recognised form of abuse. It can happen when someone tries to use coercive and controlling behaviour to control another person’s finances. The abuser can make it difficult or impossible for the other person to resist their control or become economically independent and leave.

You or someone you know may be a victim

Understanding these signs of economic abuse will help you understand whether you or someone you know may be a victim.

It could be a sign of economic abuse if a partner

  • Stops you from having a job or going to work
  • Asks you to tell them about everything you spend
  • Stops you from having access to your accounts
  • Stops you from spending on essentials
  • Spends your household budget on other things without your knowledge or consent
  • Makes you put all the bills in your name

Or if a partner, family member, friend or carer

  • Takes out credit cards, loans, overdrafts, mortgages, or other borrowing in your name without your knowledge or consent
  • Makes you give them control of your accounts
  • Cashes your pension or other cheques without permission
  • Adds their name to your account without your knowledge or consent
  • Asks you to change your will
  • Offers to buy shopping or pay bills, but you still end up paying
  • Stops you from seeing friends or family

If any of these apply to you or someone you know, you or they might be experiencing economic abuse. We’re here to support and you can ask us to contact you at a safe time if you need to.

Protect yourself from tech abuse

Abusers may use technology to try to control, harass, or intimidate you – this is called ‘tech abuse’. They may try to

  • Find out about any support you’re getting
  • Check which web pages you’ve visited
  • Monitor your online activity
  • Look for any changes you make to your security settings

The Refuge tech safety website explains how to secure your tech even if you share devices or accounts with your abuser.

You can also contact Refuge by phone or use their chat service for more support. They can help you understand your options and make a safety plan to help you leave an abusive relationship.

If you’re worried an abuser may be monitoring you online or through your devices, close this website and delete it from your browser history – Refuge explain how to do this in their guide to browsing safely. Then, visit the site from a device you know is secure.

How to secure your money safely

Be careful when taking steps to keep your money safe. If your abuser is monitoring your online activity they may notice what you’re doing, and this could make them more abusive.

Refuge can help you make a plan to secure your money safely. You can call them on 0808 2000 247 or use their online form to reach their 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline. Always use a secure device to contact them – this could be a phone from someone you trust, or a computer in a library, school or workplace.

Refuge also have digital resources available on their tech safety website, and you can use their guide to browsing safely to help you hide your online activity.

Here are some steps you can take to help protect your money

  • Keep your accounts secure – change your PINs and passwords regularly, even if you think your abuser doesn’t know them. You can change your PIN at any of our cash machines
  • Open a new account that’s only in your name – this can help you separate your money so you can manage it independently. Be careful when doing this if you live with your abuser, as we’ll send any account-opening documents to the address we have on file for you
  • Change your statements and documents preferences to paperless – if you think someone might be opening your letters, go paperless and get online statements in the Barclays app1 and Online Banking instead 
  • Remove your abuser as a named cardholder from your credit cards – especially if they’re building up debts on your card. If you have a Barclaycard, please contact us to see how we can support you
  • Similarly, remove yourself from any joint accounts if you can. If this isn’t an option, you can ask your bank to freeze the account and stop all spending from it
  • Check your credit file – look out for loans, overdrafts, store cards or credit cards that may have been taken out in your name or against your property. If there’s anything you didn’t apply for, contact the provider as soon as it’s safe. Here’s where you can find out more about your credit file

If these steps are difficult or impossible for you, or you need to speak to someone urgently, call the 24-hour Refuge National Domestic Violence Helpline for free on 0808 200 0247. You can also use the Refuge live chat service – they’re available Monday to Friday from 3pm to 10pm.

If you or someone else is in immediate danger, always call the police on 999.

For more detailed information about what economic abuse looks like and how we can help you, please read our guide to keeping your money safe [PDF, 488KB].

Extra help and advice

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Get help and support if you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse.

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Money Helper

Get free, impartial information and tools to help you manage your money.


Get expert advice and fee-free debt management, so you can tackle your debts.

How we can help

Our dedicated support team can help you take safe, practical steps to keep your money safe.

We’ll only contact you at the time you give. If we don’t get a reply, we won’t try again unless you’ve told us about another safe time. You can use this form to ask us to contact you again – as many times as you need to.

Tell us how to contact you

We can contact you from 7am to 8pm Monday to Friday, and 8am to 4pm on Saturdays and bank holidays.