When one thinks of abuse, they turn to confine themselves to physical and or emotional abuse leaving “economic/financial” abuse as an aspect to be determined by the Maintenance Court and or the High Court. The answer is yes, undue and unreasonable deprivation of economic or financial resources is a form of abuse.
This form of abuse is defined in section 1 of the Domestic Violence Act 116 of 1998. It is defined as “a) the unreasonable deprivation of economic or financial resources to which a complainant is entitled under law or which the compliant requires out of necessity, including household necessities for the complainant, and mortgage bond repayments or payment of rent in respect of the shared residence, b) the unreasonable disposal of household effects or other property in which the complainant has an interest”.
It is clear from the above that, in succeeding with the application, one needs to allege and prove the following, the unreasonable deprivation, entitlement under law or that the complainant requires the financial out of necessity. In consideration of who may apply for the protection order in terms of this section, one must establish and prove the existence of a domestic relationship as defined in terms of the Act as follows:
the parties must be married to each other
the parties live or lived together in a relationship marriage, although they are not, or were not, married to each other, or are not able to be married to each other;
they are parents of a child or are persons who have or had parental responsibility for that child (whether at the same time)
they are family members related by consanguinity, affinity or adoption;
they are or were in an engagement, dating or customary relationship, including an actual or perceived romantic, intimate or sexual relationship of any duration; or
they share or recently shared the same residence.
In conclusion, financial deprivation it is indeed a form of abuse and one can successfully apply for a protection order from a Domestic Violence Court to prohibit the Respondent’s conduct and have him comply with his financial responsibilities towards the Applicant.
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