Economic abuse is defined as a form of family violence that negatively impacts a person financially and undermines their efforts to become economically independent. It is not just about specific behaviours, but also the intent behind these behaviours.
Economic abuse is still a difficult problem for both survivors and service providers to identify and remedy. It is not clear what legal avenues are available and how services and organisations can best respond to economic abuse.
This project sought to explore and respond to the legal challenges to restoring survivors’ financial safety after their experiences of economic abuse.
The researchers examined the legal cases of 25 people who had taken out intervention orders through Wyndham Legal Service. All of the participants were women who were being abused by a man. This reflects previous research that shows that, as with other forms of family violence, women are more likely to be subject to economic abuse than men.
All of the relationships in the case studies were intimate partner relationships, and economic abuse almost always co-existed with other forms of family violence. There were also examples of the abuse extending beyond the partner relationship, with abusers’ families having a key role in the abuse, and survivors’ families being impacted by it.
This report aims to improve understanding of the financial issues faced by women in situations of family violence, and ultimately to provide them with better services to help them recover.