Financial abuse and economic abuse

Financial abuse and economic abuse can take many forms. We’re here to help you spot the signs and get support safely. On this page, you can also read about what we’re doing to tackle economic abuse.

If you’re in immediate danger

Please call 999

Get support

I’m not sure if this is economic abuse

Things might not feel right, but is it abuse? Learn how to spot the signs of economic abuse.

I’m experiencing economic abuse

We’re here to help. Find out about help available, and how to stay safe while seeking help.

I need support with debt and financial health

We know economic abuse can be devastating to your finances. We can help you get back control.

What is financial abuse and economic abuse?

Financial abuse and economic abuse are types of domestic abuse which happen within relationships.

Survivors are people who have experienced financial or economic abuse.

Abusers (or perpetrators) are people who have carried out financial or economic abuse. Abusers could be partners, ex-partners, family members, or carers.

Financial abuse

Financial abuse is about your money or other property. It’s when an abuser misuses it, steals it or puts you under pressure to do something with it.

For example, it could include when an abuser:

  • Controls how you use your income

  • Builds up debt in your name, such as by taking out a credit card

  • Manipulates you into changing your will.

Economic abuse

Economic abuse is wider in its definition than financial abuse. It can also include restricting your access to essential resources and preventing you from doing things that could improve your situation.

For example, it could include when an abuser:

  • Stops you buying any clothes or sanitary products

  • Stops you working, or being in education

  • Controls who you speak to on the phone or computer, and for how long.

What are some of the signs?

Financial abuse and economic abuse can have a devastating impact on your life, but you might not know it's happening to you, or to a friend or loved one. Some signs can be harder to recognise than others. Here are some examples:

They make you feel ashamed

Someone makes you feel like you’re bad with money

They make you dependent on them

Someone stops you from working or earning money, so you’re forced to rely on them financially

They use money to control you

Someone controls what you’re ‘allowed’ to spend money on or won’t let you access your joint account

They take advantage of you financially

Someone offered to do shopping for you, but then started using your bank card without your permission

Spotting the signs in your own situation

Watch this video to help you spot more signs of financial or economic abuse.

Spotting the signs in a friend or family member’s situation

If you’re worried that a friend or family member may be experiencing financial abuse, you can:

Help with economic abuse

We want you to know we’re here for you. Economic abuse can happen to anyone, and it’s not your fault.

Stay safe while seeking help

Websites you visit, including the ones mentioned on this page, may appear in the web history on your device. Refuge have guides about what to do if you’re worried about someone knowing what you’re doing online.

Try a device the abuser doesn’t have access to

It can help to use another device, such as:

  • A phone from trusted friends, family or neighbours
  • A computer in a library, school, or workplace.

Some actions you take to increase your security or privacy, such as deleting your web history, might alert an abuser, and they might escalate their abusive behaviour. If you’re unsure, you can contact Refuge for advice.

Get help from The Co-operative Bank

In branch

To use a private Safe Space as a safe and discrete way to get help with economic abuse, visit one of our branches and ask a member of staff, who will show you to a private room.

Once inside the Safe Space, you can use our phone to contact family or friends, and we’ll provide you with details of specialist support services available.


  • To ask us to contact you at a safe time by email or phone, fill in our economic abuse online form. Please be aware that the contact form will show in your browser history.

  • To read about help available discretely if you’re worried someone is watching what you’re doing online, use our economic abuse pop-up. It won’t show in your browser history. The link is at the bottom of all of our webpages.

By phone

To get help from our dedicated financial support team, call us on 0800 781 1493 (open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm and Saturday and Sunday, 9am to 5pm). Call charges may apply

On the phone we can:

  • Help you understand payments on your account

  • Reset your login details or change your card PINs

  • Explain your options if you have a joint account

  • Set up a new account

  • Help you deal with any debts.

Other help

Find out more about what we and other banks can do for you, and how you can prepare for any conversation you have with us, in the It’s Your Money leaflet (PDF).

Ask us to contact you at a safe time

We know it might not be possible, or safe, for you to contact us so you can fill in our economic abuse online form instead. You can let us know a safe time for us to get in touch with you.

Please be aware that the contact form will show in your browser history.

If you are not a customer of The Co-operative Bank, we recommend you contact the organisations below for support.

To continue, confirm that you:

Please tick to confirm you want to fill in our economic abuse online form.

If you're worried someone is monitoring your phone, use a safer device, like another phone from a trusted friend, family, or a neighbour, to contact Refuge's 24h National Domestic Abuse Helpline (Freephone) on 0808 2000 247.

It's a good idea to consider who might be able to access things like your emails by checking where your account is logged in. You can find more information about this at the Refuge Tech Safety website.

Fill in the contact form

Get help from other organisations

There are many organisations offering help and support. All those listed below run support services that are always free to access and completely confidential. Although they may have specialist knowledge and experience in supporting specific kinds of people, they’ll offer guidance to anyone who needs it.

If you’re looking for ways to support a loved one or just want to find out more, you can go to Refuge or Surviving Economic Abuse.

Refuge runs a National Domestic Abuse Helpline for women and provides emotional and practical support. They can explain who else you could contact and refer you to other specialists, such as local outreach services and refuges.

To get help from Refuge, you can:

  • Call their National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247 (free to call, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
  • Access their support online via live chat or web forms at
  • Visit their website for lots more information about domestic abuse, including support for survivors of economic abuse at

Surviving Economic Abuse (SEA) also provides a wide range of specialist support to women who have experienced economic abuse, and to those who are supporting victims, at

Domestic abuse aimed at men is much more common than many people think – the Office of National Statistics (ONS) says that 1 in 3 survivors of domestic abuse are men. Respect works to end domestic abuse against men.

To get help from Respect, you can:

Galop works to support LGBT+ people through domestic abuse, hate crime and conversion therapy.

To get help from Galop, you can:

  • Visit their website
  • Call their National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0800 999 5428 (free to call, Monday, Tuesday and Friday, 10am to 5pm, Wednesday and Thursday, 10am to 8pm).

Hourglass works to prevent isolation, neglect and abuse of older people.

To get help from Hourglass, you can:

Unseen works towards a world without slavery. They provide safehouses and support in the community for survivors of trafficking and modern slavery.

To get help from Unseen, you can:

  • Call their Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700 (free to call, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and available in 200 languages)
  • Access their support online at

Find local help and support with the Bright Sky app

The Bright Sky app is free and simple to use. It can help you understand how to respond to economic abuse and find support nearby, for you or someone else.

To download it, search for ‘Bright Sky’ on the App Store or Google Play, or visit Hestia’s website at

Check if someone has an abusive past, and find translated and easy read information on GOV.UK

GOV.UK provides information about domestic abuse in some alternative formats, including:

  • Translated into foreign languages
  • In easy read format (in simple language, with pictures to help you understand).

They also provide information about how to:

  • Check whether someone has an abusive past if you’re worried that you’re seeing signs of domestic abuse in a relationship
  • Get a court order to protect yourself of your children.

Visit the GOV.UK website to learn more.

Please note that the above support links are correct as of March 2023 and the details are for information only. The Co-operative Bank has no direct relationship with any of the organisations above other than Refuge and Safe Spaces.

Support with debt

We know that survivors of financial abuse and economic abuse can have problems with high amounts of debt, low credit scores and legal issues. This is nothing to be ashamed of.

We understand that you know your situation better than anyone else, and we want to help you improve your financial health.

Our dedicated financial support team can help you by:

  • Taking the time to listen to what you have to say
  • Helping you deal with any debts.
Get help from our dedicated financial support team

We won’t judge you, and talking to us won’t affect your credit score or eligibility for future financial products.

Call us on 0800 781 1493 (open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm and Saturday and Sunday, 9am to 5pm).

Get other help with debt

We understand you may prefer to talk to someone else about your debt. You can get friendly, impartial debt management advice from StepChange.

Or if you’re not ready to talk, you can find lots more information in the It’s Your Money leaflet (PDF).

For general help and support with economic abuse, you can also view other resources and organisations.

How we’re tackling economic abuse

As well as taking steps to support our customers, as the original ethical bank we’re also committed to tackling economic abuse in the UK.

Our partnership with Refuge

We’ve partnered with Refuge to run campaigns and studies. We were the first to publish statistics on financial abuse and show how big this problem is in the UK.

In our study, we found that of all adults in the UK:

1 in 6 people (16% or 8.7 million people) had experienced economic abuse at some point

1 in 60 people (1.6% or nearly a million people) were experiencing economic abuse at the time

Together, we formed a plan for banks to increase the financial support available to survivors, and help prevent abuse – and we’re still campaigning for this. You can read about what else we found in our economic abuse study, and our plan of action.

Our commitment to Safe Spaces

Safe Spaces was created by Hestia and UK SAYS NO MORE to provide a safe and discrete way for anyone experiencing domestic abuse to safely call a helpline, support service or loved one. We’re proud to offer Safe Spaces across our branch network.

Not found what you're looking for?

Contact our support team