'Tamara's' story: the impact of financial abuse
In just four months, our partnership with WEstjustice has led to assistance for 23 women struggling with debts that were the result of family violence. This is the story of one of them:
Tamara and her husband were married for 10 years and had two children. Tamara’s husband was extremely violent, abusive and controlling over Tamara; she wasn’t allowed to have friends, a driver’s licence or buy clothing. Throughout their marriage, Tamara was forced into slavery by her husband from early morning to late evening doing manual labour at his mechanic business.
After the tragic loss of their youngest daughter, Tamara’s husband refused to pay the funeral expenses and continued to use her Centrelink benefits to fund his lifestyle. Finally given access to the Family Tax Benefit, Tamara paid for her daughter’s funeral as well as the family’s bills, rent, school fees and her husband’s fines to keep afloat. Tamara incurred more than $25,000 in debts for unpaid utility bills, credit cards, a Centrelink debt and a personal loan she used to pay for her daughter’s tombstone.
Tamara came to the McAuley program soon after she separated from her husband. She had to leave her son in Adelaide with a close friend so he could continue his studies. Tamara was skipping meals while living in a safe house to make ends meet. In just five hours, WEstjustice sought and obtained a full waiver of Tamara’s $10,000 personal loan thanks to our contact at a major bank. That loan was causing Tamara enormous stress and tipping her into destitution. In just one week we also obtained full debt waivers on Tamara’s telephone, utilities, other banking and debt collection debts.
By clearing Tamara’s debts, she could afford to return to a private rental and live with her son again.
Read about our partnership with WEstjustice.