Financial abuse

Financial abuse happens when someone takes or misuses your money, assets or property without you agreeing.

Financial abuse is a type of elder abuse. It can happen to an older person with other types of abuse such as social abuse.

Financial abuse can often make an older person feel like they no longer have control over their finances or assets and increase anxiety and stress. It can happen to any older person. Financial abuse can range from minor incidents (such as borrowing small amounts of money and not repaying the loan) through to extreme incidents (misusing the Financial Enduring Power of Attorney).

Regardless, the impact can be significant for an older person and can impact on their lifestyle, leisure and the necessities of life, such as food and housing.

Frequently an older person might rely on family and relatives to assist them with their finances or assets. In these circumstances, an older person can be more vulnerable to abuse if they’re not included in the decisions about their finances.

There are many ways that a perpetrator can be financially abusive to an older person:

  • Uses the older person’s money without their consent or knowledge
  • Signs legal documents on behalf of an older person
  • Threatens or punishes an older person if they don’t give the perpetrator money
  • Makes the older person think that they can’t manage their own money
  • Selling or disposing the older person’sproperty without permission
  • Shopping for an older person and not returning any change
  • Not repaying loans
  • Not contributing to household expenses
  • Misusing financial powers under an Enduring Power of Attorney
  • Taking advantage of the sharing of resources within families

All of these take control away from the older person.

SRV Tip Sheet: Care for Your Assets Online

This guide is helpful for people thinking about selling their home and giving the money to someone, moving in with a relative, or having a relative move in with them, transferring property to a close relative or friend, or giving or lending money to someone.

The guide will help you think through the possible personal and legal outcomes of any new arrangements before you make changes. 
Download the tip sheet here

Financial Counselling

Financial counselling is a free, confidential and independent service. Financial counsellors provide information, support, advocacy and advice to people experiencing, or at risk of, financial hardship. The National Debt Helpline is a telephone financial counselling service open from 9.30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday. The financial counsellors at the National Debt Helpline can put you in contact with your local financial counselling service.

National Debt Helpline
1800 007 007

When relationships turn sour. Lizzie* shared with SRV the sad story of how her relationship with her daughter turned sour, resulting in heartache and financial loss.
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If you, or someone you know is experiencing elder abuse, help is available through our confidential helpline on 1300 368 821.

If it is an emergency, call 000.
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