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Content warning: This episode discusses topics of family violence and financial abuse.

In this episode, I talk with Serina McDuff, the acting CEO of Respect Victoria, shedding light on recognising early signs of financial abuse in relationships. Our conversation explores the need for open dialogue about finances, challenging societal norms, and fostering communication to create safe and consensual financial dynamics. These conversations can be with your own partner, family members and friends, and they are so essential. Serina emphasises that financial abuse can affect anyone, regardless of financial stability, and the importance of being proactive in understanding and addressing these issues. Throughout our discussion, Serina also provides valuable insights into creating consensual and safe financial arrangements within relationships.

Episode highlights:

  • Financial abuse is recognised as a form of family violence where one person in a relationship exercises control over another person through financial means. This can include monitoring spending, controlling funds, pressuring to take loans, and more.
  • We discuss common red flags in relationships that may indicate financial abuse, such as isolation, control over finances, pressure to quit a job, gambling with shared money, and exclusion from financial decisions.
  • The importance of having early conversations about finances in a relationship, and normalising discussions about money can help prevent financial abuse by allowing partners to openly communicate their expectations and goals.

“The broader societal expectations and sort of traditional gender roles that many of us have grown up with and many that continue to be entrenched today that can be the context for family violence.”
Serina [09:57]

“It’s totally okay to have a joint bank account, you know, but at the same time we would say, hang on to a bank account of your own.”
Serina [24:45]

“You might have different views and you might sort of disagree, but you should be able to kind of navigate that the way that we do in healthy relationships where you agree to disagree or you don’t feel unsafe in those conversations, you’re just trying to work out what you should do as a couple.”
Serina [28:09]

If the content in this episode raises any concerns, you can find out more information and support at

  • www.respectvictoria.vic.gov.au
  • www.1800respect.org.au/violence-and-abuse/financial-abuse/toolkit

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Episode Transcript

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