New research commissioned by the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) has found that up to 20% of adults have experience of financial abuse, however, many older adults still do not think that it could happen to them.
The findings of the research have been published as part of a public awareness campaign, led by BPFI in partnership with Safeguarding Ireland, which is highlighting the need for greater awareness of the real risks of financial abuse and calling on all adults to better plan ahead to safeguard their finances.
The research, carried out on a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults using RED C’s omnibus survey, found that overall 20% of adults had experience of financial abuse, either currently or in the past.
The research found that a total of 10% said someone had used their property or possessions without permission, 8% said an income earning adult living with them refused to contribute to household bills, 6% said someone was making decisions about their money without consulting them and 4% said that they had money taken or used from a joint account without their agreement.
Some 43% said that they were not concerned about experiencing financial abuse in the future – highlighting a large cohort who do not perceive it as a real risk which could affect them. Conversely, the same figure of 43% were concerned that financial abuse could happen to them in the future – with older people the least concerned about the issue.
Speaking about the risks of financial abuse and how people can protect themselves against it, BPFI Head of Sustainable Banking Louise O’Mahony said: “The findings show that financial abuse is happening at a higher incidence than many people realise and also that too many adults, particularly older people, aren’t concerned and think it won’t happen to them. We all need to prepare for the likelihood that one day we may need help managing our affairs due to a serious illness, accident or aging, and our message is that people should ‘have that conversation’ with someone they can trust and plan ahead for the future of their finances in order to protect themselves from financial abuse."