Relationship Problems and Money
This project aimed to understand and address the serious, ongoing consequences of financial abuse in the lives of women and their children. It examined barriers women face to building financial independence and long-term security post-separation.
Over 200 women from across social/cultural/income spectrums shared their stories in focus groups, interviews and online survey. They provided rich, detailed insights into the nature and impacts of financial abuse, within relationships and after separation. Interviews were also conducted with professionals working in the sector, including family and family violence protection law, child support, domestic violence support and women’s health.
The need for the research emerged out of anecdotal evidence from WIRE’s telephone support and referral service, which highlighted the prevalence of financial abuse among callers to the service. Through talking to callers and the women who accessed WIRE’s services, it was apparent most women who had experienced financial abuse didn’t identify with the term. It became evident that research was needed to ensure women had access to useful, relevant and accessible information about the issue and how to address their situation.
This project adds to the body of knowledge about women’s experience of financial abuse, providing detailed analysis in the contemporary context of reforms to legal, child support and income support policy. Importantly, through the experiences of research participants from across the social spectrum, it provides additional insight into financial abuse. Unlike previous studies, it captures the stories of women who did not view their experience in a context of family violence or financial abuse, and therefore had not accessed domestic violence services.
- As a result of the research WIRE has:
Developed and delivered the training program ‘Financial Abuse in the context of family violence’, delivered to financial practitioners and family violence support services.
- Developed and distributed the information booklet ‘Money Problems with your partner? Dealing with financial abuse’. This booklet is the most widely requested of WIRE’s information booklets.
- Made a submission to the Victorian Royal Commission on Family Violence, which highlighted the impact of financial abuse on women and children and the structural context of that abuse.