Unfortunately, we live in a world where victims of domestic violence have been horribly injured or murdered by their partners. People who do not understand the complex dynamics involved in family violence always seem incredulous that victims stay in those relationships. It sounds like a simple solution that if a partner emotionally, physically or sexually abuses you, “you should just LEAVE”. However, we at Perth Family Lawyers know that leaving an abusive relationship is never easy. It may take months or years of planning. Unfortunately, in many cases even after the victim leaves the relationship, they may still not be really free. Statistics show that a victim it at greatest risk of violence immediately after leaving a violent relationship.
Our staff at Perth Family Lawyers have been hearing more about financial abuse in the recent times, as the world is becoming more aware of financial manipulation being used as a tool of family violence. Leaving can be expensive and many victims who are in abusive relationships are financially controlled and do not have free access to money. Furthermore, following separation abusive ex-partners often use settlement negotiations and court proceedings to financially burden their victims, by refusing to co-operate, mediate and prolonging the proceedings unnecessarily.
Furthermore, it is not uncommon following separation that other financial consequences can flow as a result of an abusers conduct, for example, allowing bills (such as gas, electricity or land and water rates) in their victims name to remain unpaid, ceasing payment of the mortgage, or cancelling the internet or their mobile phone plans (if it was in the abusers name) leaving a victim without a means of communication. If you are experiencing this sort of conduct, it is vital to get legal advice immediately to protect your financial reputation and credit rating.
Our dedicated solicitors at Perth Family Lawyers always try to consider and advise as to the most cost effective and strategic legal solutions to exhaust all efforts to resolve matters well before they reach the courts.
In addition, in some families the parent required to pay child support can manipulate the child support system by way of hiding income, working for cash in hand, or reducing or underestimating their income, meaning that child support payments are lower than they should be. This can add additional financial pressure to a victim following them leaving the abusive relationship and can result in parents incurring debts to pay for the activities their children are doing.
“Forgetting” to return the children’s clothes and other items after handover can also be used as a weapon, as this would mean the other parent would have to buy everything new, repeatedly. Such behaviour can be both financial and emotional burdensome.
Solicitors at Perth Family Lawyers understand that this may put people looking to leave an abusive relationship in an impossible and untenable situation which may place them at risk of returning to or remaining in an unhealthy and abusive relationship. Our solicitors are highly trained to provide advice and guidance as to how to avoid getting back into the unhealthy and dangerous relationships when such circumstances occur or to assist victims to plan an exit in a safe manner, to protect the physical and emotional wellbeing of the victim and the children.
Cyber stalking, tracking devices, apps and the use of other technology can also be used to track victim’s movements after or during the relationship, or to record or keep a victim under surveillance. At Perth Family Lawyers we can refer you to services who can assess your devices and sweep them for such technology and who can provide expert evidence to a Court of the installation of such technology.
As part of their attempt to control their victims, abusers have been known to threaten to harm or kill themselves as a way to force victims to return or stay in the relationship. It can hard to understand how difficult it is for the victims and what is happening behind closed doors. It’s precisely this lack of understanding of the ongoing nature of domestic violence which needs to be addressed. Domestic violence is far more widespread than most of us realise. Almost 25 per cent of women have reported experiencing violence by a partner since the age of 15.
For so many victims, the abuse does not end just because the relationship is over. At Perth Family Lawyers we know this and tailor our advice to provide strong legal solutions and support, and to guide them through this difficult period.
If you are experiencing some form of the abuse discussed in this article or know someone who is, who would benefit from our experienced and dedicated family law advice at Perth Family Lawyers, please call us today, on (08) 9325 8675 or visit our website on www.perthfamilylawyers.com. You are not alone and we are here to help.