The 26 November 2021 is Economic Harm Awareness Day, and we're supporting Good Shepherd's campaign to raise awareness of this important issue.
What is Economic Harm?
Economic harm, often referred to as financial or economic abuse, is recognised as a form of psychological abuse within the Family Violence Act.
It is behaviour towards another person that controls, restricts or removes their access to money, economic resources or participation in financial decisions.
It is experienced in many close personal relationships, particularly intimate partner relationships, and may also include forms of elder abuse.
Worringly, it's on the rise. A 2019 study by researchers at The University of Auckland funded by MBIE found that the lifetime prevalence of economic intimate partner violence increased from 4.5% in 2003 to 8.9% in 2019.
Learn the signs of economic harm
Economic harm can be difficult to identify, as it is less visible than physical violence. However, the impact can be severe and long-term, impacting the financial wellbeing of a person even after the harmful behaviour itself has stopped.
It's important to acknowledge also that economic abuse can lead to other forms of abuse, including violent behaviour.
This is why it's so important to learn the signs of economic harm. According to Good Shepherd, some of these might include:
- unequal decision-making in how household money is spent;
- pressure to sign financial documents;
- threats to be cut off financially during arguments;
- no or reduced access to your own or your family bank account;
- needing permission to use your own or your family's money;
- having to explain spending for everyday items and basic needs;
- being coerced or forced to give up work/go to work/stay home.
Find out more
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