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A bill currently pending in the Maine Legislature would help alleged victims of domestic violence overcome the financial toll of abusive relationships. However, the way the bill is written, people who have been accused of domestic violence could be held responsible for compensating alleged victims.
The bill, HP 553, is an attempt to help people who have been the victims of so-called “economic abuse.” According to the bill, economic abuse happens when one person in a relationship makes the other person “financially dependent by maintaining control over the individual’s financial resources.”
According to the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence, the vast majority of abusive relationships include some sort of economic abuse. This could take the form of:
HP 553 would do two things to correct this:
While the goal of HP 533 is admirable, the decision to allow alleged victims to recover financial compensation from their abusers goes too far.
The problem with HP 533 is that it assumes that all marital or familial problems arise to the level of domestic violence that is seen on TV. This is far from the case. Many marital disagreements and rocky relationships are two-way streets, with each side contributing to the problems. Many of these relationships end in divorce, with each spouse jockeying for position to get what they want from the other.
Recognizing the concept of economic abuse and allowing legitimate victims of domestic violence to recover compensation from their abuser for the costs of that abuse is not going to confine itself to those situations. It may also be utilized – in other words, abused – by people who want to get the upper hand over their spouse and are willing to use any means necessary to do it.
This is not to say that economic abuse does not happen. People in abusive relationships often find that their abuser is willing to go to great lengths to gain control over them and controlling their money and assets is one way to do it.
However, people who are not in abusive relationships may use this law to gain leverage over a significant other and demand compensation for economic abuse that never happened.
This is why the lawyers at MCD Group strive to legally represent and protect Mainers who have been accused of domestic violence. Contact us online or call our law office at (207) 571-8146.
If you are facing criminal charges in Maine, the attorneys at The Maine Criminal Defense Group are here to help. Call our office to speak with
one of our team members, who will discuss your case with you and set up a consultation with one of our attorneys
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