"[Moo Baulch: Former Chief Executive Officer, Domestic Violence NSW (DVNSW)]
I think there’s a range of ways that we can prevent financial abuse with in the family context, certainly within the intimate partner context.
A big part of it is about education, so educating and boys and girls equally around things like superannuation, around things like tax, around things like saving. Equality, gender equality, in the financial sense. I think we are still in a situation where we’re not good at teaching this stuff within the school context and for teachers, we make them responsible for an awful lot of that stuff. But if you think, it’s a little bit like healthy relationships, we also rely on parents to teach their kids this stuff too and if parents aren’t educated and don’t have the comfort or an understanding around the way that finances work then it’s pretty tough to be expecting another generation to come through and have a really sophisticated understanding about those things too.
So certainly, I think the financial institutions have a part to play. Teachers can probably be a part of this too, parents as well. But also, community attitudes. The better that we get as communities at talking about finances and about financial security, and within the gender equality context. the better we will get at bringing up a generation of children and young people who really understand and have some control rather than it sort of feeling like a terrifying prospect and something that just boys understand, or the man takes that role within the relationship.
[Michael Salter: Associate Professor of Criminology, School of Social Sciences, University of NSW]
We want to expand the opportunities that are available to girls and women to participate as equals in social life and to participate as equals in the workforce as well, and women’s economic empowerment, closing the gender gap, insuring that women are accumulating the same amount of assets, superannuation, all of these things over the course of their lives puts women on an equal playing field. Where they are just as empowered as men to make decisions that they need to make, to keep themselves and their kids and their family safe.
And there’s a broader, bigger picture here, the bulk of parenting and child rearing it falls to women, the bulk of house work full to women. There are things that men can do at home in terms of contributing to rebalancing that gendered division of labour. But child rearing and parenting remains a real obstacle for women as they’re trying to hold their position in the workforce and progress in their careers as well. That’s a key public policy issue.
Understanding financial abuse is an important first step in offering support. These resources provide further information on the many forms financial abuse can take.