Support My Independence: Understanding financial abuse

This project is a collaboration with the Centre for Women's Economic Safety drawing on insights from people with lived experience of economic abuse (also referred to as financial abuse), in the context of an intimate partner relationship.

Economic abuse is a common aspect of domestic and family violence and can continue, or start, post-separation. One of the challenges with economic abuse is the way perpetrators can deceive and use business and other institutions to facilitate and extend their abuse.

The aim of this project is to create a resource that supports businesses and other organisations to become more informed about economic abuse and better at designing responses, products and services to avoid complicity.

Support for financial abuse

If you are experiencing economic abuse from a current or former partner, or you are still dealing with the consequences of abuse, there are organisations that can support you. The Centre for Women's Economic Safety (CWES) provides a directory with links to organisations that may be useful.


What is economic abuse?

The terms economic abuse and financial abuse are often used interchangeably. Economic abuse represents a broader set of behaviours and is a form of family violence that:

“… involves behaviors that control a [person’s] ability to acquire, use and maintain economic resources, thus threatening her [or his] economic security and potential for self-sufficiency.”

Economic abuse includes a range of behaviours carried out by a perpetrator such as:

  • controlling a victim’s access to cash and bank accounts
  • hiding financial information and assets
  • sabotaging study and/or employment opportunities
  • forcing a partner to take out debt, and
  • manipulating finances to avoid or reduce child support payments.

Adams, A. (2008). 'Development of the Scale of Economic Abuse'. Violence Against Women, 14, 563-588.

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