Love and Boundaries: Financial Abuse


Photographer: Sydney Sims

“Hello, I am Elia, I’m the social worker from the Ministry of Children Development. May I ask if you and your spouse are currently at home? Have any members of your family come into contact with Covid? The authorities and I will be visiting your property in response to a reported assault against you by your husband. I’m concerned for the safety of you and your three-month-old child while on the property. Additionally, it has been brought to our attention that your husband’s parents were involved in the assault and will also be removed from the property.”

Sandra cannot stop them from coming. 

The father-in-law was livid, shouting at the police, “We are the primary shareholder of this property! The woman should be the one leaving, not us!” His wife chimed in, accusing Sandra of tearing the family apart by calling the authorities.

Sandra, holding her sobbing infant, was uncertain of what lay ahead. However, one thing she knew for sure was that her abusive marriage had finally come to an end.

With guidance from the social worker, Sandra discovered that her joint savings had dwindled to $342, and her husband and mother-in-law had signed a $600,000 loan contract without her knowledge or consent.

The social worker urged Sandra to engage a lawyer to navigate her situation. Within three days, all of Sandra’s living expenses were suspended, leaving her and her child in dire straits. She was also prohibited from contacting her husband directly for 90 days and had to rely on a lawyer, police, social worker, or licensed mediator for any communication.

The only way for Sandra to secure legal counsel was to pay a retainer of at least $3,000, which could be depleted in a matter of weeks. Despite the support of her family and friends, none had endured what she was going through.

Consider the following questions:

Have you been prevented from attending school, training sessions, or working by your partner?
Have you been forced by your partner to have a joint account, sell assets, or sign over loans or property without your consent?
Has your partner prohibited you from using credit cards or bank cards?
Have you been made to ask for money by your partner?
Have you been coerced into agreeing to a power of attorney that enables your partner to legally sign documents without your consent?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it is likely that you are experiencing economic abuse, which is a form of family violence. Financial abuse can involve restricting access to money, manipulating financial decisions, or taking out loans and establishing debts without your consent.

Whether you plan to stay in your current home or leave, it is essential to gather all necessary documents and records. It is also important to contact an attorney and inform them of your situation.

If you require assistance with housing, food, or financial support for you and your children during this transition, there are resources available to help.

Financial Support    

Community Support 

Employment Support


Legal Support       

Well-Being Support  


The Circle of MA aims to bring hope and light to individuals who have experienced or is currently going through unpleasant journeys.

We offer a haven for individual to unleash their strength. With our true stories and inspirational podcasts, we provide a space for you to breathe and to connect. Please reach out to us  if you want to share your story to empower other individuals who is thriving through their moment of the journey.

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