Legal Aid Queensland is encouraging people to learn to recognise the signs of financial control, one of the more subtle forms of domestic and family violence.
Like all forms of domestic violence, financial control happens across all ages, genders, suburbs, social and cultural groups.
Legal Aid Queensland has released the first episode of its new Law for All podcast, and in it, consumer law advocates Paul Holmes and Loretta Kreet put financial control in the spotlight.
Both lawyers have worked with people whose loans, contracts, or debt problems have spiraled out of control because of financial control and say there are many red flags for people to spot.
“One of the most common financial control examples we see is when someone has given up their bank account passwords,” Mr Holmes said.
“Another is when you see someone picking at every purchase their partner makes in a way designed to erode their confidence.”
Ms Kreet said financial control is a subtle, but highly effective way of blocking someone from leaving a relationship.
“If you restrict someone’s financial autonomy and make them feel they have no financial capability, then naturally that person will find it far more difficult to leave,” she said.
Mr Holmes said financial control’s devastating effects can be felt long after the relationship ends.
“We see a lot of people, who don’t ride a motorbike themselves, guaranteeing motorbike loans for their partner and when the relationship breaks up, their partner stops making the loan repayments and damages the guarantor’s credit rating,” he said.
“We’ve also had cases where the partner has driven a car away and crashed it knowing it’s in the other person’s name and it’s nearly impossible for them to be pursued for any damage or repayments.”
While these are just a couple of examples of financial control, the earlier people get help the more options they have.
“The good thing is many lenders, creditors and banks have specialist units for dealing with debts related to domestic and family violence, so you should always ask them for help if you need it, or of course, people can contact Legal Aid Queensland,” Mr Holmes said.
To learn more about financial abuse and domestic and family violence check out Legal Aid Queensland’s podcast ‘Law for All’.