This is an article that shouldn’t have to be written but with another incidence of devastating domestic violence on the news, it highlights the importance of having the money & resources to escape an abusive relationship.
Let us start by reiterating; your safety is number one priority and no amount of saving is worth staying in a bad situation. If you or your children are at risk – leave.
Should you or someone you know be experiencing domestic violence, we want to provide information on a number of government and community-based organisations, and the assistance we can provide to help you escape & rebuild.
1. Stay Financially Literate
Financial abuse is all about power and control. By staying independent and be financially literate this can help remove the threat withholding financial support for living expenses for themselves and children.
Knowledge is power – Knowing your financial and debt position can help you survive financially in the world as you will not be dependent on the abuser.
Walsh Accountants discuss privately your taxation affairs and can discuss options to get and understand any other information you may need.
Resource – https://www.womentalkmoney.org.au/
2. Have a physical escape fund
Have $500 cash hidden in an easy to access location. This will finance your immediate escape – shelter, food, petrol.
Saving this cash can be hard if you partner handles everything financially. Some suggestions from the web are:
- Get small amounts of cash out when doing groceries – however check your bank statements to ensure that is doesn’t separate out the withdrawal.
- Sell unwanted / unused personal items on Gumtree
- Do cash work – but make sure you declare it on your tax return
- Use credit card and other loyalty programs to access cashback or gift cards.
3. Have a separate email with a secure password
By creating a backup email account with a secure password you will be able to maintain contact with service providers in a secure manner. This email address can facilitate having an online bank account, online storage, communication with domestic violence service providers etc.
However, this must be done in the safest way possible – friend’s house, libraries, private browser and clearing search history are good options. Don’t ever store or save usernames or passwords for this account. Search histories, key stroke trackers, spyware are some of the way’s abuser monitor and control their partners.
4. Have a separate cash account
It recommended to have three months in savings in an emergency fund that only you can access. This may be extremely difficult to achieve when your partner is controlling and/or your earnings capacity is limited.
However, if this is done early in a relationship prior to combining financial resources it can be an easier process.
The introduction of online banks has made it is easier than ever to open a secret account. However, keeping it concealed can be tricky. Ensure to use the safe surfing principles above when setting up and checking the account. Ensure to arrange for all bank communication to come via email to your backup email address.
How to save the emergency fund – work raises or bonuses could be directed to this account.
5. Copies of Important Documents
Make copies of everything that identifies you or with your address on it – photo ID, passports, birth certificates, bank statements, mortgages, credit cards, tax returns, superannuation, telephone and utility bills. These documents are needed when applying for support services through Centrelink.
Get your licence, passport and birth certificates certified by a justice of the peace. These can be found at most major shopping centres.
Keep a physical copy hidden with your escape fund. Alternatively use an online cloud storage such as Dropbox or Box.com using your backup email with a secure password.
If you ever need to escape you will need to contact these institutions and update your password, privacy questions & provide details to your new address. Also ensure that only you have access to your account.
Walsh Accountants also offers a Justice of the Peace service free of charge and can securely and confidentially keep copies of any identification documentation on your behalf.
Domestic Violence is a stain of our society. The above steps will not solve this problem, but it might help with the knowledge that should you ever be in that position that you can afford to leave to keep you and your children safe. Should there be anything you need to discuss, please contact us