Financial abuse: almost one in five British adults have experienced financial abuse

Posted by: Lowell|August 03 2022


  • New research conducted by Lowell reveals almost one in five British adults have experienced financial abuse

  • Research also showed that one in six Brits do not know the signs of financial abuse

  • Natasha Saunders, an active campaigner against financial abuse, shares her experiences with us

Lowell's research shows that almost 18% of British adults have experienced financial abuse in a current or past relationship. Of this, one in five women (21%) and one in seven men (15%) have been a victim¹.

Financial abuse is a type of domestic abuse where someone has power over another person and their finances. There are several types of financial abuse, and it can happen to anybody - regardless of age, gender or ethnicity.

Lowell conducted research to reveal how confident Brits are in spotting the signs of financial abuse, in order to raise awareness about the topic.

Brits' experiences and awareness of financial abuse

Lowell asked their Customer Panel² about their experience with financial abuse, and found that 37% have been a victim of it directly, or know someone who has.

When it comes to the different forms of financial abuse, over half (51%) of respondents mentioned someone spending money without telling them. Over two-fifths (41%) brought up someone deliberately withholding funds to stop them from seeing other family and friends, and finally, 38% said that their abuser kept track of every single thing that they bought.

Lowell also conducted a separate survey asking Brits³ how confident they would be in being able to spot the signs of financial abuse. One in six (15%) admitted that they don't know the signs to look out for.

Signs of financial abuse:

  • Victim is asked to prove where they're spending money and what on
  • Victim is told how they can, and can't spend their money
  • Perpetrator adds their name to the victim's accounts or takes control of their accounts 
  • Perpetrator leaves the victim to pay off debt after making them take out money or getting loans in their name
  • Victim is prevented from accessing their accounts by the perpetrator

The lasting legacy of financial abuse

Natasha Saunders, an active campaigner and independent consultant for causes against domestic abuse, spoke to Lowell about her experiences:

"Financial abuse is a crippling pandemic that has been occurring since time began. Speaking out about financial abuse often brings ridicule and disbelief. Having your bank accounts monitored, keeping receipts to prove the cost of things, and having vital things such as sanitary products or food withheld is abuse. Those are all things I suffered with my ex-husband.

I'm over 7 years free of his hold now, married to my best friend and yet my credit score is a joke. I have debt from when I was with him because he put my name on the bills, I have debt from fighting him in family court to keep my children safe. I still feel like I need to justify a purchase or explain an expense to my husband who always kindly bushes it aside and reminds me he doesn't need to know because I'm my own person. The dark cloud of money worries my ex has left me with won't vanish any time soon, the lasting legacy of financial abuse cripples many survivors' lives long after they leave, and some even go back because the step into the unknown is scarier than the devil they know."

John Pears, UK CEO at Lowell, adds:

“The results from our research around financial abuse are both shocking and deeply upsetting to read. The lasting impact of financial abuse can be devastating, but it’s important to know that if you, or someone you love, are at risk from suspected financial abuse, you are not alone. There are many specialist organisations who can help.

At Lowell, we put our customers’ wellbeing first, and we’ll always make sure customers can access the support they need by sharing where to find independent support and advice services.

You can also find more information about the signs of domestic abuse and information on support and helplines available on the GOV website, or you can contact Refuge’s National Abuse Domestic Helpline directly on 0808 2000 247.”

For more information on Lowell’s financial abuse campaign visit:



  2. Survey conducted by Lowell to their Customer Panel, 248 respondents in the UK, June 2022.
  3. Survey by Censuswide on behalf of Lowell - 1,000 UK respondents, June 2022.

About Lowell

Lowell is one of Europe’s largest credit management companies with a mission to make credit work better for all. It operates in the UK, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Sweden. Lowell’s unparalleled combination of data analytics insight and robust risk management provides clients with expert solutions in debt purchasing, third party collections and business process outsourcing. With its ethical approach to debt management, Lowell always looks for the most appropriate, sustainable, and fair outcome for each customer’s specific circumstances. Lowell was formed in 2015 following the merger of the UK and German market leaders: the Lowell Group and the GFKL Group. In 2018, Lowell completed the acquisition of the Carve-out Business from Intrum, which has market leading positions in the Nordic region. It is backed by global private equity firm Permira and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. For more information on Lowell, please visit our customer website: or our investor website:


Media enquiries


For enquiries about this article please contact Rosa Mitchell at Connective3


For enquiries about Lowell corporate affairs please contact Montfort Communications