Limitations of Australia's Legal Hardship Protections for Women with Debt Problems Caused by Economic Abuse

33 Pages Posted: 2 Dec 2019 Last revised: 14 Feb 2020

See all articles by Evgenia Bourova

Evgenia Bourova

University of Melbourne - Law School

Ian Ramsay

Melbourne Law School - University of Melbourne

Paul Ali

University of Melbourne - Law School

Date Written: April 19, 2019

Abstract

Research on economic abuse has identified multiple ways in which perpetrators use debt to exercise power and control over women in violent relationships. However, there have been few attempts to evaluate consumer credit law’s role in responding to perpetrators coercing or deceiving women into taking on debt in their own names or in joint names. At present, one option for women managing such debt is to negotiate payment arrangements with creditors under the legal protections for Australians in financial hardship. In this article, the authors draw upon focus groups with consumer advocates to examine the extent to which these protections and their implementation by creditors facilitate – or undermine – women’s financial recovery. The authors argue that these protections have limited capacity to assist victims of economic abuse, in the absence of provisions for severing liability for joint debt incurred in the context of gendered dynamics of power and control.

Keywords: consumer credit; consumer protection; economic abuse; financial hardship

Suggested Citation

Bourova, Evgenia and Ramsay, Ian and Ali, Paul, Limitations of Australia's Legal Hardship Protections for Women with Debt Problems Caused by Economic Abuse (April 19, 2019). University of New South Wales Law Journal, Vol. 42, No. 4, pp. 1146-1178, 2019; U of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper, No. 869. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3495288

Evgenia Bourova

University of Melbourne - Law School ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia

Ian Ramsay (Contact Author)

Melbourne Law School - University of Melbourne ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia
+61 3 8344 5332 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://law.unimelb.edu.au/about/staff/ian-ramsay

Paul Ali

University of Melbourne - Law School ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia
+61 3 8344 1088 (Phone)
+61 3 8344 5285 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.unimelb.edu.au

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