Domestic Violence & the Preservation Rules

15 Jan 2018

Written by

David Busoli, Principal

Each week a woman dies due to domestic violence. Women often remain in abusive relationships for financial reasons. Submissions close on 12th Feb on a Treasury review of early release rules and includes this issue but states that the government already “provides support through timely and targeted assistance, including through the welfare system.” Unfortunately, this statement is not really true. Means tested support is not available to women who are joint owners of sizable assets though access to those assets may not be available for months or even years as they are usually controlled jointly by their abusive partner. Interim costs of living, coupled with legal costs, reduces their victims, and their children, to living on the streets if not for the charity of family and friends. “Wealthier” women are hit the hardest as they are unable to access the support the government refers to. Early access to super might provide their only means of escape. Their well-being in retirement is of no consequence when their very survival is at stake so we strongly support including these considerations as release triggers on compassionate grounds. Access will then be determined based on the victim’s need, modified by whatever welfare support is actually available at the time.

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