RLC in the Media: How to escape financial abuse: Why victims need a plan

A good escape plan can protect individuals from being further abused financially after they break free.

Ellen Whinnett and Anthony Keane report for Newscorp

According to financial counsellors and advisers, many victims are “terrified” not only of their partner but also of being left destitute and potentially mired in debt.

Ellen Whinnett and Anthony Keane speak to a number of specialists on what steps can be taken to ensure financial security during and after an abusive relationship.

Solicitor Laura Bianchi, a team leader at Redfern Legal Centre’s Financial Abuse Service, said Australians could get a free copy of their credit report annually.

“If you find out you have debts in your name, seek free legal advice or financial counselling,” she said.

“Taking steps to reclaim your financial independence can provoke an abusive partner, so it is vital to be well supported, and to make a safety plan before leaving a financially abusive relationship.”

Ms Bianchi said people had clear rights when finding out about finances.

“Even if it’s a joint credit card or loan with your partner, you don’t need to tell them or get their consent to contact your bank,” she said.

“Data from family violence services reveals that between 77 and 99 per cent of women presenting to Australian family violence services report a history of economic abuse.”

Read the full story here [paywall] (Herald Sun, 20 March 2021)