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Are you a victim of financial abuse? 22 questions to consider

  • August 11 2020
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Are you a victim of financial abuse? 22 questions to consider

By Grace Ormsby
August 11 2020

An “invisible” form of abuse, family violence that uses money as a method of control and coercion, is a real issue in Australia. 

Are you a victim of financial abuse

Are you a victim of financial abuse? 22 questions to consider

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  • August 11 2020
  • Share

An “invisible” form of abuse, family violence that uses money as a method of control and coercion, is a real issue in Australia. 

Are you a victim of financial abuse

RMIT University’s Supriya Singh, an honorary professor in the university’s graduate school of business and law, explained that the use of financial or economic abuse is gendered – “usually a man using economic control, economic exploitation and employment sabotage”.

While financial and economic abuse are at times used interchangeably, Professor Singh outlined that “financial abuse deals with money, whereas economic abuse is wider in that it deals with money, property and economic resources”.

She shared a number of questions that individuals who might be the victim of the form of family abuse should ask themselves, noting that “the signs of financial or economic abuse revolve around control, exploitation and economic sabotage”.  

But the signs are different across cultures, for they revolve around different cultural practices of money. As a result, signs may appear differently across cultures and heritage, she conceded.

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Here are 22 questions that may help identify economic or financial abuse:  

  • Does he make me feel inadequate with money and then tell me it is my fault?
  • Am I scared of spending money for essential expenses? Is he unreasonably questioning everyday expenditure on the home and children?
  • Is my husband denying me money by not providing or sharing?
  • Is he freely spending my earnings in the joint account, while he places his money in a separate account?
  • Do I have any money to spend on myself?
  • Is he selling my car, furniture or other goods without consulting with me?
  • Am I able to drive a car to work?
  • Can I use a mobile phone without his surveillance?
  • Does he prevent me from giving reasonable gifts to my family and friends on special occasions?
  • Has he taken loans on my name for a car that he alone uses?
  • Has he asked me to sign for loans for his business?
  • Has he pressured me to withdraw my super?
  • Are all the utility bills on my name?
  • Is he gambling?
  • Has he forced me to apply for Centrelink benefits when he knows I do not qualify?
  • Has he asked me to give him my savings or sign my property over to him?
  • Has he demanded dowry?
  • Is he sending all his money and some of mine – without consultation – to his family overseas for luxuries while the family here is going through difficult times?
  • Has my husband’s family taken control of my jewellery?
  • Does he threaten me with deportation if I do not follow his wishes?
  • Is he dragging me through the courts to ensure I am left poor and vulnerable?
  • Is he manipulating his work and earnings to prevent paying child support?

For anyone who is in need of assistance, Professor Singh has advised seeking out the assistance of services that deal with family violence.

These places “should also be able to offer at least temporary help and/or refer a person to specialist services like financial or family counselling”, she concluded.

Are you a victim of financial abuse? 22 questions to consider
Are you a victim of financial abuse
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About the author

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Grace is a journalist on Momentum Media's nestegg. She enjoys being able to provide easy to digest information and practical tips for Australians with regard to their wealth, as well as having a platform on which to engage leading experts and commentators and leverage their insight.

About the author

Grace is a journalist on Momentum Media's nestegg. She enjoys being able to provide easy to digest information and practical tips for Australians with regard to their wealth, as well as having a platform on which to engage leading experts and commentators and leverage their insight.

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