Financial and domestic abuse – how we can support you


If you are in immediate danger of any form of domestic abuse, please call 999, if you’re unable to speak to the operator this should be followed by 55. This will indicate to the operator that you are a victim of domestic abuse and they will know what to do to support you.

What is financial and domestic abuse?

When you think of domestic abuse, you often think of a verbal or physical attack. But financial abuse – which can take many forms – is sadly another common form of abuse.

Financial abuse can occur in all different types of relationships, not just between partners or family members, but also friends or carers - and it could happen to you, or someone you know.

Domestic abuse, or domestic violence, is defined as any incident of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members (including step and in-law family members), regardless of their gender or sexuality. Domestic abuse covers a range of abusive behaviour, including - but not limited to - psychological, physical, sexual, emotional or financial abuse.

What could financial abuse look like?

There are many different ways that someone can take control of your money meaning that it can be very hard to spot financial abuse. Here are some examples:

  • "My dad took out a credit card in my name and has spent the whole balance without me knowing."

  • "My partner controls everything, I can't even see my own bank statement or get access to online banking."

  • "My sister offered to help sort out my finances and she has stolen all of my savings and added her name to my account."

UK Finance guide

The UK Finance guide has more information on what financial abuse could look like and where you can go for help.

How we can support you

If you're facing financial abuse, we're here to support you and help you regain control of your finances. If you're able to, please call us on 0345 900 0900 and one of our colleagues will talk you through ways in which we could help.

We understand every situation is different, so we've also outlined some additional steps you could take.

You can contact the organisations below for support and advice. But please remember, if you're in immediate danger, you should call 999, followed by 55 if you're unable to speak to the operator.

Cards and PINs

If you’re concerned that someone else may have your card details, we can easily send you a new card and PIN in the post. Once sent you will not be able to use your existing card and will need to wait for your new one to arrive.

You can also change an existing PIN at any high street bank ATM with the VISA symbol. If you've forgotten your PIN, you can view this in the app or we can send you a reminder through the post, just call us on 0345 900 0900.

Passwords

To ensure your accounts are secure, you may feel you need to change your passwords for telephone, online or mobile banking. You can do this by following these steps:

It’s important to remember that you should never share your PIN or passwords with anyone.

Post

We understand that, at times, it might be difficult for you to receive post at your home address. If this is the case, there are a few things we can do to help:

  • You can opt for online statements by signing into your online banking and amending your statement delivery preferences.
  • You can also change your address so that your post goes to a trusted friend or family’s home instead. You’ll need to sign into your online banking and amend your details to do this, or you can simply give us a call on 0345 900 0900.

It’s important that we hold your residential address so please update us when you can start to receive post to your home address once more.

Third Party access

You can arrange for a trusted third-party to look after your accounts for you if you’re struggling to manage them yourself – this can be a temporary measure. Read more about what a third party account holder can do.

Credit cards

If you have an M&S Bank credit card, you should check if you’re the primary or secondary cardholder - this is because the primary cardholder is responsible for the repayment of all money spent across both cards. If for any reason you’re in dispute with the secondary cardholder, we’d recommend that you remove the second card as soon as possible. To add or remove a secondary cardholder please contact us on 0345 900 0900.

Debts

Any lending that is in your name will need to be repaid. If you’re having difficulties, or would like to discuss this further, please contact us on 0345 300 1312 to talk about what we can do to help. You’ll find more information on our financial management pages.

Fraud

If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, or you think that someone has taken out credit in your name, please let us know as soon as possible. If you have an M&S Bank card you can call us on 0345 900 0900. You should also notify any other credit card providers straight away. You can find more information on our Security and Fraud advice pages.

Credit file

You can get copies of your credit file from the following credit reference agencies:

You may want to think about getting a notice of dissociation from the credit reference agencies as this will help to separate you from any joint financial arrangements. You can also register with Cifas, a fraud prevention organisation who will be able to alert you if any credit applications are made in your name.

Assisting with your money

If you’re struggling to manage your accounts, there are different ways in which we can help:

  • Third party access

Our assisting others pages provide details on third party access options which can be applied.

  • Emergency contact

If you’re an M&S Bank customer, you can also provide us with an Emergency Contact. For more information, visit our unexpected change page

Browsing history

If you're concerned someone is monitoring what you do online, you can remove your browsing history.

How to delete your browser history

Google Chrome

  1. On the top right hand side, select 'More' (the 3 dots under the close window button), then 'History'
  2. Once the new window has opened, select 'Clear browsing data' on the left hand side, then select from the drop-down menu how much history you want to erase
  3. Choose the boxes you want Chrome to delete, then select 'Clear
 

Internet Explorer

  1. Select the 'Tools' button, choose 'History', select 'More' (the 3 dots next to the search icon)
  2. Then select 'Clear browsing data'
  3. Or, choose 'X' from the dropdown list to individually delete browsing data 

Safari

  1. Go to 'Settings', choose 'Safari'
  2. Then, tap 'Clear History and Website Data' 

Firefox

  1. Select 'Menu', choose 'Library' then select 'History'
  2. Select 'Clear recent history' and select from the dropdown menu next to 'Time range to clear' how much of the history you would like to erase
  3. Select 'Ok' to delete your browsing data

Incognito (Private mode)

Whilst this mode is used, the browser will not store the search history, cookies or temporary files 

Exit button

Websites that offer domestic abuse support often have an 'Exit' button, which allows you to quickly exit the website. Familiarise yourself with where it's located on each website.

Additional support

Financial and domestic abuse organisations

National Domestic Abuse Helpline
Operated by Refuge www.refuge.org.uk
Call: 0808 2000 247
24-hour helpline

Living Without Abuse
www.lwa.org.uk
Call: 0808 802 0028
Monday to Saturday 08:00–20:00

Women’s Aid
www.womensaid.org.uk
helpline@womensaid.org.uk
Instant messaging service 10am – 12pm via website

The Men’s Advice Line
www.mensadviceline.org.uk
Call: 0808 801 0327
Monday to Friday 10:00–13:00 and 14:00–17:00

ManKind Initiative
www.mankind.org.uk
Call: 01823 334 244
Monday to Friday 10:00–16:00 and 19:00–21:00 (except Friday evenings)

Live Fear Free Helpline
Support for men, women and children in Wales with Welsh language provision.
www.livefearfree.gov.wales
Call: 0808 8010 800

Hourglass
https://wearehourglass.org/
Call: 0808 808 8141
Monday to Friday 09:00–17:00

UK SAYS NO MORE
https://uksaysnomore.org/safespaces/
Safe space locations

The Bright Sky app

Bright Sky is a free app that provides support and information to anyone who might be in an abusive relationship or is concerned about someone they know.

The Bright Sky app:

  • is available in 5 languages: English, Welsh, Urdu, Punjabi and Polish
  • has a UK-wide directory of specialist domestic abuse support services with contact details
  • has questionnaires to assess the safety of a relationship, plus a section on myths around domestic and sexual abuse
  • has a secure 'My Journal' tool to record incidents of abuse in text, audio, video or photo form without any of the content being saved on the device itself
  • has links to further resources and information on topics around domestic abuse

Only download the Bright Sky app if it's safe to do so and you're sure your phone isn't being monitored. If you're in an abusive relationship, we recommend you get a trusted friend or family member to download the app for you.

The Bright Sky app is available to download free on:

To download on the App Store, click here

To download on Google Play, click here

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