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Understanding Financial Abuse

Official Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released during March 2023 reveal one in six Australian women and one in 13 men have suffered economic abuse from someone they lived with.

ABS Director of Crime and Justice Will Milne said economic abuse can include restricting access to bank accounts, or funds, or stopping a partner from working or studying. “Economic abuse is no less important,” Mr Milne said. “It causes so much psychological damage over time.”

Financial abuse is a form of family violence. There is no typical victim – statistically it can happen to anyone in any relationship, across different age groups, socioeconomic backgrounds, and cultures. A Commonwealth Bank study identified in 2020, over 623,100 women and men were victims of this abuse in Australia that year. Common experiences reported were:-

  • Having their income controlled by an abusive partner
  • Being prevented from working
  • Being made liable for joint debts they did not incur
  • Having an abusive partner refuse to pay for living costs of dependent children

It is not uncommon that one party does not understand or have knowledge of the full financial picture of their relationship. If the relationship ends, a financially abusive ex-partner can try to exercise control and punish their ex through cutting off access to funds, withdrawing money from joint bank accounts, cancelling car registrations, cancelling mobile phone accounts and utility accounts. If you are being financially controlled by your partner and you are ready to leave the relationship, give us a call before you do. We can help you navigate the path ahead, as it is at separation that an ex-partner’s financially abusive conduct can escalate. This can then turn into a lengthy family law battle over a property settlement.  Call us first. 03 9548 5500

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Alphastream Lawyers
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Based on 53 reviews
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