My Economic Safety
What is economic safety?
“Economic safety is vital to a person’s wellbeing. It is the human right to a standard of living adequate for the health and wellbeing of a person and their family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of circumstances beyond their control*. It means being free of economic abuse and includes:
- Having access to appropriate financial products to help manage your finances
- Receiving fair and appropriate financial support for your wellbeing and the wellbeing of children, or others, in your care
- Having structural and systemic support to maintain and build your economic security over time.”
* Article 25 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights.
What is economic abuse?
The terms economic abuse and financial abuse are often used interchangeably. Economic abuse represents a broader set of behaviours including financial abuse, 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.
Read more about domestic and family violence.
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.
Fact Sheets (CWES)
- What is economic abuse
- First steps to economic safety
- Next steps to economic safety
- Economic abuse and the law
Read more on the Source: Centre for Women's Economic Safety
Insight Exchange and Centre for Women’s Economic Safety have collaborated to develop a new resource for responding organisations focused on economic safety.
Support My Economic Safety (coming soon)
A guide for organisations thinking about how to address economic abuse
Support my economic safety provides guidance and reflections for people in organisations and systems who want to improve responses to economic abuse. It has been developed from the insights of women who have experienced economic abuse in the context of domestic and family violence and includes their words as ‘case studies’ throughout. Lived experiences of economic abuse have significant and ongoing consequences, negatively impacting all domains of wellbeing.
The lived experience insights included in this resource demonstrate the significant potential for better responses, and improved design of products, services and systems to support the economic safety of victim-survivors.
Lived Experience Insights | Financial Abuse
This collection hosts insights based on interviews with people with lived experience of domestic and family violence focused on the financial abuse they experienced.
The initiative to conduct the interviews was from an informal pro-bono collaboration by Rosie’s Place, WASH House, and the Mt Druitt Family Violence Team. The narratives were provided by the individuals for the benefit of others.
The interviews were conducted by Rosie’s Place and the narratives were assembled by the Insight Exchange team.
Lived experience insights of experiences of financial abuse
- Deepa'"You are not my wife. I just keep you to work here."'
- Amrita'He only married me so he could keep me as a slave. I was tricked into marrying him.'
- Tamara'Meanwhile, he was pouring money through the poker machines.'
- Maryam'"I told you three years ago that you need to leave that man”.’
- Bronwyn'He would try and make me get money from my mother as she was on income support as well'.
- Amira'His money was his money, and my money was our money'.
- Belinda'It was his way or no way.'
- Anna'Thirty dollars a fortnight for four kids.'
- Renee 'Once I gave up work, my control went.'
- Brittany 'I was like the ATM.'
- Liz 'When you have nowhere to go, what do you do?'
- Jasmin 'When he'd come around, money would go missing.'
- Teresa '"This is my home. I am the boss here."'
- Rochelle'I was a very independent person before I met this guy.'
- Helena 'He would take the keys to the car to leave me without a car.'
- Deb'He must have had another bank account I didn't know about.'
- Allanah 'He would use my money with the promise of paying it back.'
- Jessica 'Nothing we'd had together was in my name, so I had nothing.
Acknowledgement and thanks
The Insight Exchange team would like to thank Rosie’s Place for conducting these interviews and providing these transcripts to Insight Exchange to ensure the voices of lived experience are able to help inform and strengthen social, service and systemic responses to domestic and family violence.
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