The cost of financial abuse: one in six Aussie women affected
Financial abuse is experienced in the majority of violent and abusive intimate partner relationships.
The ability to leave a violent or abusive relationship is impacted by a person's financial standing.
Financial abuse results in limited access to or withholding of funds, providing meagre allowances, gaining access to personal accounts, manipulating access to work and an independent income stream, or equitable access to a fair share of what should be joint assets.
Financial stress and hardship is a key reason why women are impeded when they try to leave an abusive relationship and impact a woman's ability to survive on a day-to-day basis, which may result in further violence and abuse.
The initial signs of financial/economic abuse can be when a woman has their access to money and finances controlled or restricted by a male partner or male family member.
Violence against women is one of the highest contributors to financial stress and hardship for women and many women experience poverty as a result of family violence.
Research undertaken by RMIT estimates that approximately 16% of women in Australia have experienced economic abuse by an intimate partner.
In WLSA Stepping Stones report, it was found that 25% of the 170 women in The Stepping Stones project had a debt that was accrued by an abusive partner either against their wishes, without their knowledge, without their understanding or as a result of coercion.
The trauma and complexity associated with financial abuse are often the catalyst for other social impacts that severely hinder a woman's ability to rebuild her life after leaving a violent relationship. This can include homelessness, unemployment, emotional well-being, and an inability to stay connected with a support network of family and friends.
White Ribbon is committed to men taking responsibility for the prevention of violence against women in our society.
Men can and should play a significant role in intervening when they witness disrespectful behaviour and violence towards any woman in any situation.
White Ribbon is about giving men and boys the tools to understand and help prevent this violence, including that more hidden form of financial/economic abuse.
When men, alongside women, stand-up, speak out and act to intervene we positively impact the devastating levels of violence in our community.