A new bill proposed this week would classify weaponizing finances – such as cutting off access to a bank account or using up the available credit on a credit card – as domestic assault. It would be an amendment of the current Tennessee Code Annotated Title 36, Chapter 3, Part 6, relative to domestic abuse. Senator Todd Gardenhire (R-Chattanooga) sponsored the bill.
The bill would add to the current definition of domestic violence.
“Abuse” means inflicting, or attempting to inflict, physical injury on an adult or minor by other than accidental means; placing an adult or minor in fear of physical harm; physical restraint; malicious damage to the personal property of the abused party, including inflicting, or attempting to inflict, physical injury on any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by an adult or minor; placing an adult or minor in fear of physical harm to any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by the adult or minor; or controlling, regulating, monitoring, or depleting the finances, economic resources, credit, or ability to work or pursue education or job training of an adult. (emphasis added)
If approved, the bill will go into effect July 1, 2022.
Also referred to as “economic abuse,” “financial abuse,” or “coercive control,” Kiplinger.com reported in August 2016 that an Allstate Foundation survey found that “74% of Americans personally know a victim of domestic abuse, but 75% fail to connect it with economic abuse.”
An October 2021 report at Forbes.com noted financial weaponization comes in three basic forms: restrict access to resources (limit the ability to access bank or credit accounts); sabotage the ability to make money (e.g. the hours available to work); and exploit the money or credit resources (drain accounts and/or use up available credit).
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