Financial abuse in intimate partner relationships (recordings & resources)
Money is a powerful tool that can be used to isolate and control. There may be no physical bruises, but the scars of financial abuse are clearly visible in a victim’s bank statement, credit report and eroded financial confidence. According to research by WIRE in 2014, among women who have sought help from domestic violence services, up to 90% have experienced financial abuse.
In times of crisis there is evidence that family and domestic violence increases in frequency and severity. Some people may experience financial abuse for the first time and for others it may escalate. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is easier for signs of financial abuse to be disguised as financial stress, unemployment and housing insecurity. Now more than ever, frontline community services are uniquely placed to identify people who have money problems due to their experience of financial abuse.
Over 2020 - 2023 RLC is presenting a series of updated webinars with substantial new content and case studies derived from RLC’s statewide Financial Abuse Service NSW and recent experiences in light of COVID-19.
The webinars are valuable to all community workers and volunteers in services such as financial counselling, domestic violence, women's refuges and community legal centres. Some examples relate to NSW, but most of the content is applicable Australia-wide. Note: The webinars do not focus on elder abuse.
Also below are the resources referred to in the webinars, and other resources you may find useful.
Resources on financial abuse
In addition to the resources below, there are more resources for advocates on the website of the Economic Abuse Reference Group:
What financial abuse is and how to know if you’re a victim of it (Sydney Morning Herald, 2019)
What is financial abuse? (1800RESPECT)
'It was all controlled by him': How Rachael escaped financial abuse - Rachael, a client of RLC, told her story in the Sydney Morning Herald
Trapped and Strapped: The Power of Money in Love (RLC's leading work in this field)
Family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia: continuing the national story (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2019)
Economic abuse between intimate partners in Australia: Prevalence, health status, disability and financial stress (PDF, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 2017)
Restoring Financial Safety: Legal Responses to Economic Abuse (PDF, Good Shepherd, 2015)
Stepping stones: Legal barriers to economic equality after family violence (PDF: Women’s Legal Service Victoria, 2015)
Economic Abuse Reference Group
Money problems with your partner? Dealing with financial abuse (PDF: WIRE Women’s Information and Referral Exchange)
Australian Banking Association Industry Guideline: Preventing and responding to financial abuse (PDF)
Australian Banking Association Banking Code of Practice
AFCA Approach to Joint Facilities and Family Violence (PDF)
AFCA fact sheet: Impact of family law settlements – banking and finance complaints (PDF)
Credit Law Toolkit (Financial Rights Legal Centre and Legal Aid NSW)
ASIC Regulatory Guide 209 Credit licensing: Responsible lending conduct
Debt collection guideline: for collectors and creditors
Commonwealth Bank: Recognise and Recover: A guide to recognising financial abuse, recovering and regaining financial control (PDF)
Commonwealth Bank: Domestic and family violence assistance
NAB: Domestic and family violence support
Westpac: Domestic and family violence (PDF)
ANZ: A guide to regaining financial independence
RLC fact sheet: Fixing Your Credit Report After Financial Abuse
National Sexual Assault, Domestic, Family Violence Counselling Service 1800RESPECT
1800 737 732, https://www.1800respect.org.au
Redfern Legal Centre fact sheets:
Telstra - Domestic and family violence assistance
Vodafone - Assisting you if you’re experiencing domestic or family violence
Optus - Domestic / Family Violence Assistance (PDF)
Communications Alliance - Industry Guideline: Assisting customers experiencing domestic and family violence
Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO): Assisting and responding to customers in financial hardship: Principles and practices – guide for telecommunications providers (PDF)
Women’s Technology Safety & Privacy Toolkit, created by the Safety Net Australia Project at WESNET, is for women experiencing tech abuse to learn how they can increase their technology safety and privacy. This toolkit includes resource guides ranging from online privacy and safety tips to smartphone privacy and location safety information, and much more.
RLC's Financial Abuse Service NSW: Click the links for more information and phone and online contact details.
National Debt Helpline 1800 007 007 http://financialrights.org.au/about-us/national-debt-helpline
Community legal centres across Australia provide free, confidential advice on a wide range of matters:
Specialist consumer credit legal centres:
NSW: Financial Rights Legal Centre https://financialrights.org.au
ACT: Care Consumer Law https://www.carefcs.org
VIC: Consumer Action Law Centre https://www.consumeraction.org.au
WA: Consumer Credit Legal Service WA https://www.cclswa.org.au
QLD: Caxton Legal Centre https://caxton.org.au
SA: Consumer Credit Law Centre SA https://www.unitingcommunities.org/service/legal-services/consumer-cred…
Legal Aid NSW:
Areas of law
Webinar video recordings
Webinar July 2020: Identifying financial abuse in intimate partner relationships, and supporting victim survivors
Using insights from RLC’s Financial Abuse Service NSW, you will learn how to identify financial abuse and how to safely support victim survivors to deal with relationship debts, including when specialist legal advice is necessary and where to find it.
Watch recording here:
Webinar September 2020: Resolving Financial Abuse Legal Issues
In this webinar, we share tips for investigating and resolving cases of financial abuse, gained through our experience running the Financial Abuse Service NSW. You will gain an understanding of the laws and policies that can be used to resolve credit, debt and consumer law problems that stem from financial abuse in intimate partner relationships, as well as practical strategies for negotiating with stakeholders to achieve the best outcomes for victim survivors.
Watch recording here:
Webinar July 2021: Resolving Financial Abuse Issues: Two Roads Diverged
Resolving financial abuse issues often involves finding creative strategies across different areas of law. In response to high levels of unmet need identified in its first 18 months of operation, RLC’s Financial Abuse Service NSW has expanded to offer advice about family law financial matters, such as property settlement, spousal maintenance and child support, in addition to advice about credit, debt and consumer issues. Panellists:
- Maria Monastiriotis, Accredited Family Law Specialist, Financial Abuse Service NSW at Redfern Legal Centre
- Jasmine Opdam, Credit, Debt & Consumer Lawyer, Financial Abuse Service NSW at Redfern Legal Centre
Webinar August 2021: Resolving Financial Abuse Issues: Telecommunications
Financial abuse issues are commonly identified in connection with telco services. Resolving practical issues around handsets, ongoing access to services and privacy are important to help remove barriers for victim survivors to leave abusive relationships. This webinar will cover practical strategies to negotiate with telco services. There are now a broad range of support options provided for in family and domestic violence policies – but accessing them can sometimes prove challenging.