Support urged for domestic violence victims denied super

The Federal Government has been called upon to deliver on a scheme which would prevent perpetrators of domestic violence from hiding super assets from victims in court.

The scheme was first announced in November 2018 as part of the Women’s Economic Security Statement and was due to be implemented this month but had not been delivered yet.

Now, Women’s Legal Service Victoria and super industry representatives were calling on the Government to implement it as soon as possible to allow victims to gain their share of superannuation assets after separation.

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Tania Clarke, manager of policy and campaigns at Women’s Legal Service Victoria, said: “Many of our clients have been in abusive relationships and their partners are hiding their superannuation assets and getting away with it because family law judgements can only be made on visible assets. This is a real issue because superannuation is often the biggest – or only – asset of these relationships.

“The Government’s scheme would have bypassed violent perpetrators and allowed the family courts to get superannuation information directly from the ATO, saving a lot of time, money and heartache.”

The comments were supported by Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) chief executive Eva Scheerlinck who said visibility of assets in profit-to-member super funds needed an overhaul.

“The current process of uncovering non-disclosed super in a family law dispute needs an overhaul. In many cases, enquiries need to be made to a multitude of funds leading to many women simply giving up the search.

“Allowing the courts to access ATO data is a simple measure that will make the process far more efficient, fair and cost-effective both for the individuals concerned and the super industry.”

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