Victoria Leads In Reform To Protect Against Financial Abuse

21 April 2010

Previously a victim of family violence could seek an Intervention Order to protect themselves if a magistrate is satisfied that a person has:

  1. threatened to assault or assaulted a family member; or
  2. threatened to damage or damaged the property of a family member; or
  3. harassed, molested or behaved in an offensive way.

The State Government have proposed laws on the advice of the Victorian Law Reform Commission to expand the grounds for an intervention order to include the concept of financial abuse.  Financial abuse includes behaviour that prevents financial independence or cuts off living expenses. 

The proposed laws have drawn much support since "economic abuse" has the capacity to do as much damage as physical abuse.

There are some horrific examples that Fiona McCormack, Domestic Violence Victoria, Chief Executive Officer has pointed out which can now be addressed by the proposed laws.  For example:

  1. a pregnant woman who was sick in bed whose partner refused to buy her food; and
  2. a woman who was stopped from purchasing shoes to attend a job interview.

An individual should not have to justify every cent they spend to their partner nor face a bank balance of zero if you decide to leave someone.

The laws need to be extended as proposed as family violence is a leading factor in preventable deaths in woman aged between 15 and 44.

The legislation sends a message that Family Violence is a crime which can and will be addressed by the justice system, and will not be ignored nor tolerated by our community.