Role of financial institutions in addressing financial abuse?
This video looks at the important role financial institutions can play in addressing financial abuse. It is part of a collection of videos created to support workplace responses to domestic and family violence.
Role of financial institutions in addressing financial abuse
[Michael Salter: Associate Professor of Criminology, School of Social Sciences, University of NSW]
There is a direct responsibility for the finance sector in preventing financial abuse. So, putting measures in place so that financial abuse and exploitation is less likely to occur, it’s more likely to be identified when it is occurring and then in the aftermath of financial abuse to recognise the rights and the needs of victims and to provide them with appropriate relief.
[Julie Kun: Chief Executive Officer, WIRE]
WIRE talks to women every day that are disclosing their financial abuse for the first or second time and we know that for many women their first or second disclosure is at a financial institution.
So they’re talking to the banks they’re talking to utility companies, they’re talking to insurance and their superannuation about what is happening to them. They may not have a name for it yet. They may just know that money is missing from an account that they thought was there, or that they thought the rent was being paid for four months and now they’ve got an eviction notice.
They may not know that financial abuse is a form of family violence. They will know it’s wrong, they will know that it’s left them in a terrible predicament, and it is really the role of our financial institutions to let them know. Give them a name, you know there is a lot of clarity that can come from giving this monstrous act a name. It gives you a pathway forward so then it allows you to be referred into the family violence system or to go and speak to a financial counsellor or to get involved with that companies hardship team and work through the problems.
It also is the start of not taking on all the blame yourself and that’s something that we see all the time, is that the victim survivors of financial abuse say “It was my fault because I was stupid. I allowed this person that I love to do these things.” We need to be able to unpack that in the financial institution when they’re having those conversations, so they know that it’s not their fault and then look at, do those debts really belong with that person, and make sure that the debt and the blame lies with the person that has perpetrated the financial abuse and not with the victim survivor.
Understanding financial abuse is an important first step in offering support. These resources provide further information on the many forms financial abuse can take.