Coercive Control is about patterns of abuse designed to isolate, intimidate and force submission from a woman. SiSi says women because in 96% of cases of Coercive Control, the victim is a woman and the perpetrator is usually a man whom she has trusted and he has violated that trust. Most often women we come across in SiSi have left abusive relationships and are grappling to navigate abusive court proceedings where ex-partners enforce their ‘entitlements’ in a whimsical fashion with life destroying financial abuse and post separation control continuing for as long as the court allows abusive applications to be made.
Financial abuse can include exerting control over income, spending, bank accounts, bills and borrowing. It can also include controlling access to and use of things like transport and technology, which allow us to work and stay connected, as well as property and daily essentials like food and clothing. It can include destroying items and refusing to contribute to household costs.
This type of abuse is a form of coercive and controlling behaviour. It can continue long after leaving and can have lifelong effects.
Financial abuse rarely happens in isolation and usually occurs alongside other forms of abuse, including physical, sexual and psychological abuse. 95% of cases of domestic abuse involve economic abuse.
This type of abuse is designed to create economic instability and/or make one partner financially dependent, which limits their freedom. Without access to money and the things that money can buy, it is difficult to leave an abuser and access safety. Someone experiencing this type of abuse can become trapped in a relationship with the abuser, unable to resist the abuser’s control and at risk of further harm. In this way, economic safety underpins physical safety.
The impact of financial abuse makes rebuilding lives challenging. Many women leave with nothing — having no money even for essentials — and have to start again from scratch. Many victim-survivors leave with large amounts of debt and poor credit ratings, affecting their long-term economic stability, and many are unable to maintain savings that provide economic security.
Social welfare dependence increases the likelihood of becoming stuck in poverty. Our maintenance system through family court often compounds abusers ability to manipulate others into scrutinising victims.SiSi will be working in partnership with Melissa Boyle of Master My Balance. Melissa is a financial education and coaching specialist for women, with specific expertise in financial abuse. When women work together we can achieve anything. Watch this space.