The primary reason women return to abusive relationships is due to their lack of economic security and financial resources.
Yourtoolkit.com is our response to this, a free online, all-encompassing resource that provides a step-by-step guide and practical information to help women facing domestic abuse transition into a safer, independent future.
Own your own bank account
It’s important that you have your own bank account regardless of the state of your relationship. Having your own account allows you to retain financial independence and access or save money without your partner knowing. Even if you have joint accounts, you can set up an account with any secondary bank.
Note, if you believe opening an account could jeopardise your safety and put you at risk of abuse, ensure that no paperwork is delivered to your home address, and use a trusted friend or a PO box for your mailing address. Find more information on what support is available at Yourtoolkit.com/1E.
Have an emergency fund
Having an emergency fund is crucial to securing a safe and independent financial future, it should act as a buffer to buy you time if your safety is at risk due to abuse.
Squirrel away any money that you can, if it’s cash; keep it at a trusted friend or family member’s house, if it’s digital; try to open a bank account just for you.
If neither of these options are possible, credit cards or personal loans can offer a solution. Learn more about credit alternatives at Yourtoolkit.com/4C.
Create smart saving and budgeting strategies now
If you have previously accessed all your money through joint accounts or with your partner’s secondary income, getting used to budgeting your own money can be daunting. However, there is a lot of power in controlling and owning your finances and making them work for you.
There is an abundance of money-saving tips online. If you have a secure internet connection, spend some time researching habits and listening to expert suggestions.
Learn how to create a money plan, or budget, at Yourtoolkit.com/4A
Include spending goals in your budget, try to think ahead and estimate what expenses you need to pay and when. Factor these into your budget, as an essential. Find information on how to create saving strategies at Yourtoolkit.com/4B.
Set up myGov and link up services
Secure an easy rhythm to the year by setting up your myGov account and linking services such as Medicare, tax and Centrelink. This will put you in a good position for tax time, or if you claim any Medicare or government assistance. Find more information about Centrelink and myGov at Yourtoolkit.com/1F.
Apply for government income support payments
There are many types of support payments available through Centrelink, which you are entitled to claim depending on your ability to meet eligibility criteria. Get familiar with what support you can claim, and lodge an application online.
Find more information about financial assistance for living at Yourtoolkit.com/3D.
Find more information about money matters and keeping safe at Yourtoolkit.com.au
If you or someone you know is experiencing family and domestic violence and needs to talk to a confidential counsellor, call 1800 Respect (1800 737 732).