Woman speaks out about being financially abused by her ex-partner

A woman who was financially abused by her ex-partner says people don't realise how common that form of abuse is.

Economic Harm Awareness Day is on Friday, which is about abuse that usually goes alongside violent and emotional harm.

Economic harm is behaviour towards a person that controls, restricts or removes their access to money, economic resources or participation in financial decisions.

One woman has come forward about her experience. She doesn't want her identity to be revealed but she does want her story to be heard.

For this article, we'll call her "Paige". She has suffered for decades at the hands of her ex-partner.

"From early in the relationship, he showed anger issues, quite bad anger issues," Paige tells Newshub.

Paige and her ex-partner had children together and as well as violent and emotional abuse, he abused her financially for decades.

"I was still working," she says. "I always worked, he was on a benefit and had a drug habit that he couldn't support."

She ended up with $30,000 of debt, from trying to stay afloat.

"It was easier to get money and loans to give him because if he had his drugs he was a nicer person," Paige says.

Paige is one of the thousands of Kiwis who suffer financial abuse at the hands of a partner or family member.

"It's unaddressed, it's hidden and it's one of the main reasons why people say they can't overcome family violence," Nicola Ecckelston from Good Shepherd tells Newshub. 

Ecckelston works for Good Shepherd - which helps victims all over the country.

"The women tell us they are more concerned about how they're going to pay for things than they are about their own safety," she says.

Good Shepherd is working on getting financial abuse into its own category under the family violence act.

"Psychological and emotional abuse is terrible but it doesn't leave you with a bad credit rating," she says. "That means that you can't get a house."

Paige eventually got out, repaid all her debt and is now thriving. 

She has advice for anyone that is struggling and in the same situation.

"It's just about asking for help, putting your hand up and saying, I can't do this anymore," she says.

And building a new life, like she has. 

Watch full story above.