Andrew Wiltshire: Economic abuse is a form of domestic violence.
In its simplest terms, it relates to a situation where one partner exerts control over the other through financial means.
This often occurs after people have separated, or if a person’s threatening to separate, and the other person cuts them off financially from bank accounts.
This sort of threat strikes fear in anybody, particularly mothers who have young children.
The fear of being thrown out on the street, with or without their child, with no access to money, is terrifying.
Recognition of economic abuse as a form of domestic violence formally has been a wonderful thing.
I’ve seen numerous cases over the years where people have sought to control their spouse, or even sought to gain advantage in legal proceedings by winning a war of attrition.
In other words, running the other person out of money, or taking advantage of their weakened financial position, to get a better outcome in proceedings.
Now that it’s been formally recognised, it does help to level the playing field.
We’ve been used to helping people through this type of situation by offering pay-at-the-end solutions. In other words, that people pay after they’ve received their settlement.
But we also have a range of finance options available to help people obtain access to resources to pay rent, so that they can get out of an abusive relationship, pay school fees, make their car repayments, and to get out of the situation where their spouse is controlling their life economically.
Economic abuse is no different to any other form of domestic violence, or any other form of bullying.
In some respects, it’s one of the worst forms of control because a person doesn’t even have to have the fortitude to make threats personally—they’ll simply cut them off.
I hate bullies, and we work really hard to help people overcome situations where they’re being controlled financially or in any other way.