The research report builds on the literature review contained in the ANROWS Landscapes paper “Building effective policies and services to promote women’s economic security following domestic violence: State of knowledge paper” (Cortis and Bullen, 2015). That paper discussed how economic abuse is a frequent, yet under-researched tactic of violence. Financial issues, including the prospect of leaving property or assets behind, are major factors in women’s decisions about leaving or staying in violent relationships, and the economic difficulties arising from violence, including loss of wealth upon separation, reverberate through women’s lives and increase hardship in the long-term. The Landscapes paper also highlighted evidence of inadequacies in the systems intended to identify, prevent and respond to the economic harms arising from violence.
This report builds on the Landscapes paper with new statistical analysis and qualitative evidence. The statistical material reinforces how domestic violence contributes to alarming levels of financial stress among Australian women. Domestic violence is associated with economic stressors which penalise women for a number of years after violence is experienced. Interviews with stakeholders demonstrate widespread perceptions that although Australia has some highly effective initiatives in place, these operate on too small a scale to fully address the extent or range of women’s needs.