Like all forms of domestic violence, financial control happens across all ages, genders, suburbs, social and cultural groups.
Both lawyers have worked with people whose loans, contracts, or debt problems have spiraled out of control because of a partner’s or family member’s financial control and they 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 the devastating effects of financial control 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 lawyers say 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.
If you, or someone you know, is experiencing domestic violence, you are not alone, and domestic and family services can help you work out a plan to leave early.
Where to go for help
For more information about consumer and debt issues or domestic and family violence call the Legal Aid Queensland contact centre on 1300 65 11 88 (local call cost if you are calling from a landline) from Monday to Friday between 9am and 4pm.
To learn more about financial abuse and domestic and family violence check out Legal Aid Queensland’s podcast ‘Law for All‘ wherever you get your podcasts or go to www.legalaid.qld.gov.au/podcast.
If you need support at any time, day or night, you can contact DV Connect on 1800 811 811.
If you or your children are at immediate risk of harm, please call the police, don’t muck around. So, in an emergency call triple zero.
Cover image, Shutterstock