October’s Domestic Violence Awareness month and Breast Cancer Awareness month have much more in common than sharing the calendar’s 10th month. According to the American Cancer Society, estimates for new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be over 276,000 this year with another 48,000 in new cases of non-invasive breast cancer with approximately 42,000 deaths from breast cancer this year. Staggering, isn’t it?
Well, the statistics for domestic violence are even worse. According to the National Coalition against Domestic Violence, one average nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. In one year, this is approximately 10 million people. Per NCDV, there are more than 20,000 phone calls to domestic violence hotlines nationwide in a typical day. Note that this is based upon statistics for physical abuse. There are multiple grounds for protection from abuse in NJ as well as other states that do not require any physical contact between the victim and their abuser at all.
A common form of abuse we often see in our practice is financial. The abuser withholds or limits the victim’s access to money or economic resources as a form of maintain control and restrict the victim’s efforts to break free. A specific form of abuse we have seen is related to the use of medical insurance.
Medical insurance is really expensive, but it can be even more expensive not to have it. Even with insurance coverage, bankruptcies based upon medical debt are common because the cost of medical care is exorbitantly high. Not having the ability to support oneself with insurance is daunting enough. To try to do it without insurance is formidable. It is not surprising then, that faced with limited resources and medical issues that require treatment, victims more than hesitate to leave their abusers when they have medical issues that make that insurance more precious to them than their overall health and safety in a harmful relationship.
Financial abuse is real. Financial abuse related to medical insurance is just as real. There are alternatives that do not require sacrificing one aspect of your health for another.
Julie Burick, Esq. is a shareholder and partner at Adinolfi, Lieberman, Burick, Falkenstein, Roberto & Molotsky, PA located in Haddonfield, New Jersey. Julie is passionate about providing legal counsel to those affected by domestic violence. A domestic violence matter has potentially far reaching consequences in the context of family law. Having someone who knows the law and can advocate for your rights is very important.