Jenny’s Story

A woman is assisted in dealing with a crippling debt that has been incurred by her violent ex-husband


Jenny and Michael were childhood sweethearts who met at primary school and were married in their mid-twenties.  After the birth of their third child, Michael became controlling and violent towards Jenny. One night, after physically assaulting Jenny, he threatened their eldest child and Jenny decided to end the relationship.  With support from family violence support services, Jenny obtained an intervention order to protect herself and her children from future violence. That night Michael fled the house, taking with him many of their personal items including a phone and computer that Jenny had entered into a consumer lease for.

Jenny could no longer afford to keep making payments on the lease after Michael left. Despite explaining her situation to the consumer lease organisation on the phone, they were not willing to relieve her of any of the $6,000 loan, even though she could not afford the repayments and the items were not in her possession.


Jenny received assistance, from a WLSV duty lawyer, to obtain an intervention order and she explained the financial situation she was in. Our lawyer argued that Michael taking and keeping the items, while Jenny had to pay for them, was a form of economic abuse. We sought and obtained a variation of the existing intervention order for Jenny, to include specific conditions requiring Michael to return the personal items. The items were not returned and the police issued a warrant for Michael’s arrest.

Meanwhile, our financial counsellor was negotiating with the lender. After she was able to provide evidence of the family violence and the attempts that our lawyer had made to have the property returned, the lender decided to waive the debt. Our advocacy resulted in Jenny having a $6,000 debt waived right before Christmas.  This made a huge difference to Jenny and her children, who had been struggling to get by.