Blog

Why a Proposed Bill to Compensate Victims of Economic Abuse Is Not a Good Idea

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | May 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

One of the perks of allowing each of the 50 states creates their own set of laws is that it lets states experiment with ideas for all the others to see.

Right now, the state of Maine is considering a law that would allow victims of domestic violence to recover compensation from their abusers for their “economic abuse.” While the idea sounds good, there are numerous potential flaws that could doom its success.

The Concept of Economic Abuse

Many truly abusive relationships revolve around the issue of control. One of the most common and subtly devastating ways for an abuser to control someone is to make all of the financial decisions in the marriage or relationship. By completely controlling the other person's assets, property, and even their income, an abuser can keep that person with no means of their own and even saddle them with financial debts to keep them in the relationship.

This concept of economic abuse is only just becoming recognized as an integral part of abusive relationships.

Maine Considering Economic Abuse Law

Now, the state of Maine is the first in the U.S. to consider passing a law that gives alleged victims of economic abuse an avenue of legal recourse.

The proposed law is HP 533. It defines economic abuse as making someone else in a relationship “financially dependent by maintaining control over the individual's financial resources.”

In order to protect victims of economic abuse, HP 533 would allow them to recover financial compensation for “losses resulting from economic abuse” from their alleged abuser and would keep debt collectors from taking action against them, if they can show that their debts were the result of economic abuse.

The Problem of Awarding Compensation

While the proposed law would aim to correct significant problems, there is a serious risk that it goes too far. Relatively few abusive relationships rise to the level of those that are heard about on the news or in TV shows, where one person in the relationship is literally locked inside. Most allegedly abusive relationships are far more complicated. Some of them are even fictional, where the alleged victim imagines being victimized by abuse that is not actually happening.

As the law stands, there are already a lot of problems figuring out exactly what is going on in abusive relationships – most cases involving allegedly abusive relationships rely exclusively on testimony by the purported victim and the alleged abuser. As protection from abuse (PFA) hearings have shown, drawing a line in the sand between the alleged abuser's due process rights and the apparent need to protect the alleged victim has been one of the most difficult things for the law to do, so far.

Allowing claimed victims of economic abuse to collect compensation would be injecting an already uncertain process with the sometimes very real possibility that an alleged victim is only acting out of a financial motive. While Maine is more than welcome to experiment with the idea of compensating victims of economic abuse, it seems more likely that this proposed bill would backfire.

Domestic Violence and PFA Lawyer in Philadelphia Joseph D. Lento

Joseph D. Lento is a domestic violence defense lawyer who represents people through the PFA process. Contact him online or call his law office at (215) 535-5353.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience fighting for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, as well as New Jersey. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being.

Comments

There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Contact Us Today!

Footer 2

Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations – the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Berks, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Northampton County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

Menu