Abuse is generally considered and defined to include an element of physical harm.
Our law, and specifically the Protection from Harassment Act of 2010 and the Domestic Violence Act of 1988, also recognises a further type of abuse, being economic.
Economic abuse is defined as to include the unreasonable deprivation of financial resources to which a person is entitled under law or which the person requires out of necessity.
Economic abuse usually manifests in a situation where one party unreasonably withholds finances from another as punishment or as a result of anger.
Husbands moving out of the communal home and refusing to contribute to household expenses, leaving his wife and children financially stranded is a common example hereof.
As a result of the severe consequences of economic abuse and the frequency of such incidents, our legislature has deemed it necessary to incorporate economic abuse into our legislation and protect innocent parties therefrom.
The Harassment and Domestic Violence Acts offer remedies and protection from economic abuse, including the granting of orders directing a guilty party to pay emergency monetary relief to the complainant.
This may include a one-time payment or monthly payments for a specified period, depending on what the court deems fit. The courts also have a wide discretion to make any other order that is deemed necessary and reasonable.
In contrast to maintenance orders, orders directing payment of emergency monetary relief are made on an urgent basis and are intended to stand for a short period.
The purpose of such orders are to ensure that a complainant is in a position to support himself / herself for the time being until a proper order can be put in place by a competent court.
Failing to comply with such an order will have the same effect as a civil judgment, meaning a complainant can immediately proceed with execution steps against the Respondent to collect such funds, should he/she fail to comply with the order.
If you are a victim of economic abuse, or any other form of abuse, it is advisable to approach an attorney as quickly as possible to ensure that the correct process is instituted swiftly.
Any unnecessary delay in acquiring legal assistance may negatively influence your case and hamper the effectiveness of the legal process.