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Male victims of financial abuse given vital lifeline

A new partnership has been established between Abused Men In Scotland (AMIS), the leading charity for male victims of domestic violence, and the Vulnerability Registration Service (VRS) a not-for-profit company providing the UK’s first central vulnerability database. This partnership will ensure that male victims of financial abuse are able to take back some control over their money without placing themselves at further risk of abuse.

One in three victims of domestic violence per year are men. Financial abuse plays a big part in domestic abuse cases, and continues to affect the lives of victims long after they have escaped their abusers. It is often managed poorly, especially by banks.

Thanks to the new partnership, abused men who have made themselves known to AMIS and have given permission, will be registered onto the VRS database by AMIS on their behalf. This will help ensure that male victims of domestic abuse whose partners are also controlling their finances and taking out further debt in their names, are highlighted safely and securely to credit and service providers through a ‘risk of coercion’ flag applied by the VRS.

Organisations accessing the VRS database will be able to focus their resources and adapt their actions appropriately, such as turning down a request for a new loan, service or higher credit card limit, and exercise the caution needed to handle such situations. Crucially, the abusive partner will not be given any indication of why the service or credit has been turned down, ensuring further harm is not caused to the victims.

It is the first partnership of its kind and aims to ensure that men in Scotland who are in abusive relationships, whose finances are being controlled by a partner, have a way of protecting their money without having to formally contact each service or credit provider, or risk alerting their abusive partners to the fact that they are taking action.

According to AMIS, the biggest barrier victims encounter when trying to make credit and service providers aware of their circumstance, is the need for written permission. Each organisation must have a mandate from the victim, highlighting their circumstances and the need to put a stop to further credit or services being taken out. The victims, however, are reluctant to put anything in writing for fear of their abusive partners finding out. Furthermore, there will be many more services taken out in their names with organisations that they are not aware of.

Iris Quar of AMIS commented:

“Often, these men have secure jobs and are considered financially sound. In reality, they are victims of financial abuse. The abusive partners have complete control over their money, so keeping track of all the credit and services that have been applied for in their names is impossible for them. The abusers also control their time and access to family, friends and places. This means the abused men simply do not have the ability to contact each and every provider with their story, and they are scared of being found out. But on top of that, the organisations do not make it easy for them.

“Now, we can register them with the VRS and their case will be managed appropriately without them having do anything more, being approached by the organisations or being found out. The impact of the work by the VRS is incredibly valuable and all organisations should be using the database – they have a duty to identify, support and safeguard people who are at risk.”