What is Economic Abuse?

The Cost of Domestic Violence

The Cost of Domestic Violence (Photo credit: The Advocacy Project)

Hello, my name is Harel Seal, a lawyer in the field of family law.

I’m glad you read my blog related to economic abuse and sincerely hope you will use the information therein.

If you have any questions, write to me and I’ll try to help as much as I can.

I came to talk to you about a very painful  phenomenon , disturbing and destructive, called economic abuse in the family, or domestic economic abuse.

This phenomenon is prevalent throughout the world, including the United States and the Western world, and unfortunately in the small state of  Israel.

During my work, I was exposed to this phenomenon in all its manifestations.

I gained a lot of experience in recognizing different types of people, among them the guy who was violent against the battered and submissive type and the various derivatives, and especially the symbiosis between the two.

Unfortunately, I met many families that echo the scourge of violence and terror, and when I talk about violence and terrorism I am not talking just about physical violence, because in many families there is no physical violence, but they still have an active terror that destroys the family to the core.

And this terror almost always revolves around the assets, property and money that are the lifeline of the family.

However, the issue of economic abuse is very close to my heart , because unfortunately I know the devastation that  the phenomenon can produce , the emotional damage it causes, and how fortunes and destinies of children are ruined.

Please let me explain to you, define to you and tell you about what domestic economic abuse is.

Globally, domestic economic abuse is a situation where a party takes over the family by force and / or domineering and / or slyly and / or by taking measures of intimidation or of seizing property and / or monies and / or economic rights of another person, including the right to work and support himself, and denies access to such property, money and other assets. On the other hand, the aggressor takes control and exposes,  in many cases, the victim  to debts and obligations.

The economic abuse almost always exists in situations of dependency!

Please note that within the overall term domestic economic abuse there are concepts such as “forced” … “measures of intimidation” … “preventing access” that have a clear connotation of violence, but the term also includes concepts such “dominance” … “devious” … “scam”, “exposure to loss”, which do not necessarily represent violence.

That is to say, there are elements of violence in economic abuse, but those elements may not exist in every case; moreover, there are many cases in which the abuser acts in such clever and disguised ways that in his actions there is not even a minimum of alleged violence or coercion.

Economic abuse can occur between spouses, between children and their elderly parents, and between parents and their children.

In traditional society, where there are extended families, there are often dependencies between one party and another in the extended family, not always in the immediate family, and where a variety of long-term economic abuse occurs..

Economic abuse within the family is the most elusive; as opposed to physical violence that can be easily characterized, economic abuse is much more difficult to characterize. It  is complex, and often is not accompanied by any of the symptoms of physical or verbal violence, and  it includes many shades of gray.

In many cases, those who institute economic abuse know very well how to conceal their actions and cunning.

Unfortunately, in many countries economic abuse is not a criminal matter, and the police do not interfere in it, considering the conflict a civil conflict.

Moreover, in many countries, even some of the Treatment Authorities do not always know how to characterize the foundations of economic abuse and tend to associate it with seemingly legitimate economic disputes without internalizing that in practice the economic abuse and violence are very similar to each other.

In my opinion, we need a major change in treating the economic abuse, seeing it as violence in all aspects, and after we characterize it and define it, we have to do everything to condemn it, no less than we condemn the physical and the verbal violence.

In the United States and throughout the Western world, there is sensitivity to the issue of economic abuse,  and in some countries economic abuse is against the law.

In the United States alone dozens of organizations operate, such as the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence,  who bring to the public information about the various types of economic abuse and offer help.

In other countries, unfortunately, the situation is not so, but I believe it will get better soon ….

So if you are in the spouse / partner, child or parent, and you are in a situation where:

  • You are prevented access to money, or to a salary or to a pension or annuity.
  • You are prevented from opening and managing a bank account.
  • Someone in your family makes you dependent on him/her financially, including food, clothing and shelter.
  • Someone in your family refuses to allow you to work, study, or take part in activities.
  • Someone in your family steals from you and / or smuggles property, funds and assets belonging to you or those you are entitled to by law.
  • Someone in your family prevents you systematically from accessing any information about your or the family’s assets.
  • Someone in the family threatens that if you do not obey him/her he or she will leave you without property and livelihood.
  • Someone in the family uses your name on businesses or companies, while preventing from you any of the information about the business or company.
  • Someone in the family creates obligations in your name, including increasing mortgage, then concealing the funds.
  • Someone in the family forces you to have credit cards and checks and uses them, leaving you with all the debts.
  • Someone in the family contacts your workplace, and  threatens to sabotage your name there.
  • If you must inform him of her of any money you spend or wish to spend.

It is likely that you are in a situation of domestic economic abuse!

Contact me – do not hesitate!

Know that this situation can change, and that any big change starts with a small step!

 

 

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