When is the right time to talk about money?

Maximising financial teachable moments for women affected by family violence

Why did we do this new research?

WIRE has been having important conversations about family violence against women, and the Royal Commission into Family Violence (2015) has propelled changes to a critical issue in our society. However, one area that is not talked about much is the financial aftermath of family violence, and how financial abuse (or economic abuse) is a major tactic of perpetrator violence.

Between 80% and 90% of women seeking family violence services experience financial abuse — alongside physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Financial insecurity is one of the major barriers to leaving a violent relationship. Many victim/survivors face ongoing financial hardship that carries on long after the violent relationship had ended. Many face bills, joint debts that may not be theirs, as well as continuing abuse by perpetrators through the courts. Many face poverty, homelessness, unemployment or under employment and may rely on income support.

Leaving a violent relationship takes on average $18,000 and 141 hours

ACTU Report 2017, on SBS News

Women are already financially disadvantaged by gender-based inequalities: for example, they may have not received financial education, or have had less opportunities to practice money management if they work within the home. They may not know where to seek financial advice and information, or indeed trust that information – which is often not relevant to their lives or priorities. These barriers are even harder to overcome for women due to age, race, gender identity, sexuality, culture and ability. There are gaps in services and support systems that women fall through, and our research seeks to find out more about what these gaps are, and how to fill them.

Aim: To provide appropriate and timely financial capability and literacy education and support that can improve victims’/survivors’ financial recovery and stability, no matter what stage of their journey they are on.

How: WIRE asked women with lived experience to share their stories and ideas about:

  • When are the good ‘moments’ to provide financial capability education and support?
  • What skills, education and information and support services they need?
  • How should this be provided?
  • What can get in the way of accessing and taking part in these programs?


WIRE wants to inform and influence the design and delivery of financial capability programs, financial support services and products that women affected by family violence need at all stages of their journey to financial recovery; from preventing and protecting finances, through crisis, to early recovery, to building longer-term financial stability and security.

Project Update

The report is now complete and was launched at the MCG on November 1, 2018.


This content was last updated 2018. 

For more information on ‘Teachable Moments’, contact Researcher Nilmini Fernando:

Email: nfernando@wire.org.au or Phone: (03) 8326 7110

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