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Source: Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Commonwealth Bank partners with UNSW Sydney to shed light on the prevalence, definition and impact of economic and financial abuse

Thursday, 12 November 2020 – Commonwealth Bank, in partnership with UNSW’s Gendered Violence Research Network, has released a new research paper with areas of focus for financial institutions to provide better support for people impacted by economic and financial abuse through intimate partner relationships.

The paper, authored by Jan Breckenridge, Professor and Co-Convenor UNSW Gendered Violence Research Network, and titled ‘Understanding Economic and Financial Abuse in Intimate Partner Relationships’, is the first in a six-part series that will provide one of the most comprehensive compendiums of evidence and information about financial abuse within Australia to date.

CBA’s Group Executive, Sian Lewis, said: “Financial abuse is a hidden epidemic affecting thousands of Australians who are experiencing domestic and family violence. Yet, there is limited academic evidence on the issue making it difficult to develop and deliver effective support for people impacted. The purpose of this research series is to improve our understanding of the issue so we as a bank, and as a society, can improve our responses and support.”

To help financial institutions better address the issue, the paper outlines the key areas for consideration when analysing customer support measures, including:

·       Examining ways in which victim-survivors of economic and financial abuse may benefit from tailored financial products. These may include microfinance, advance payments, savings initiatives, and asset-building programs to enable their financial inclusion and capacity.

·       Establishing a specialist Domestic and Family Violence (DFV) team to assess the potential for products and procedures to be misused by perpetrators to coercively control and abuse their partner. Financial institution’s products and procedures can be manipulated by perpetrators to create financial insecurity and hardship.

·       Providing training for specialist DFV teams that includes the links between economic and financial abuse and other forms of intimate partner violence, and the economic and financial abuse tactics that can occur after the end of the relationship. This should include awareness of domestic and family violence more broadly, how to implement organisational guidelines ensuring safety of customers and referral options should there be a disclosure.

·       Financial institutions could provide content through youth education programs to further develop and support financial capability and financial management. Research suggests young people may adopt gendered practices of financial management in their relationships that could lead to being more susceptible to economic and financial abuse, which disadvantage young women in particular.

MIL OSI – Global Reports