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Financial Abuse – What Is It?

by | Jul 12, 2021 | Family Law

Most people associate the term “Domestic Violence” with physical assault. However, there are other forms of domestic violence such as financial abuse which can be just as damaging to the victim.

Financial abuse is a type of emotional abuse whereby a person restricts their partner’s access to finances and uses money as a form of control and coercion over the other person.

Financial abuse is one of the most common forms of abuse that occurs in an unhealthy relationship. Often a person becomes so accustomed to their partner having absolute control over their finances “because they are better at managing money” that many do not even realise that the behaviour could be abusive. For example, in cases where one party is not allowed to withdraw funds from joint accounts, ask questions about finances, have access to financial documents or have any say in how money is spent and saved.  In some more extreme cases an individual may be even be prevented from working or any income that they do earn must be turned over to their partner.

The perpetrator will often either restrict their partner’s access to funds completely or provide the partner with an “allowance” and make them declare every penny they spend.

The severity and nature of financial abuse varies in each situation and the type of abusive behaviours can be either subtle or overt. In some cases, even a comment to the effect of ‘I make the money so I get to make the decisions” many constitute financial abuse as the person is making the other person feel inferior and asserting control.  Just like other forms of abuse, the perpetrator is trying to achieve power and control in the relationship and restrict the other person’s autonomy and tarnish their self-worth.

If you are experiencing financial abuse of have any questions on this topic our dedicated team of family lawyers in Melbourne can assist you. Call us on 03 9614 7111 or email melboune@nevettford.com.au