New coercive control laws to fight financial abuse, domestic violence

The CEO of peak body Domestic Violence Victoria Tania Farha told News Corp Australia economic abuse was one of the least recognised and understood forms of family violence, so it was difficult to accurately determine its prevalence.

“Research suggests it occurs in 50-90 per cent of family violence cases,’’ Ms Farha said.

“Economic abuse can be a barrier to leaving a violent partner or recovering from family violence.

“In most cases, victim survivors never fully recover financially from family violence.’’

Ms Farha said tactics of economic abuse included preventing a partner or family member from earning or having access to money, refusing to contribute to shared expenses, forcing them to take on debts, prolonged family court proceedings or non-payment of child support.

“Coercive control is a defining feature of all types of family violence. Economic abuse is one way perpetrators gain control over their victims and will often be used together with other tactics of violence and abuse in a pattern of coercive control,’’ she said.

“Fortunately, many banks and services are becoming aware of these tactics and working to provide solutions.’’

Ms Farha called for better resourcing of the systemic response to family violence, to better respond to coercive control and economic abuse including the different tactics of abuse.

“Victim survivors of family violence can experience ongoing abuse after separating from their partner, which can have extreme economic impacts,’’ she said.

“Within the Family Court, for example, prolonging family court proceedings, hiding assets, stalling joint property or debt settlements, and not paying child support are all tactics perpetrators use to continue exerting control over their victim. Research has shown that victims of family violence will often settle for less than what they are entitled to in order to avoid ongoing control and abuse.‘’

The Daily Telegraph