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Banks support summit to end violence against women and children

8 September 2021

The Australian Banking Association (ABA) welcomes this week’s National Summit on Women’s Safety, which provided an important platform to discuss the next national plan to end violence against women and children.

All sections of society need to play a part in preventing violence against women and children and the banking sector takes its role in supporting customers impacted by abuse extremely seriously. ABA members are united in their resolve to take action.

Anna Bligh, Chief Executive Officer of the ABA, said she was pleased the industry had been asked to contribute to the summit and share efforts made by the banking sector to assist customers, particularly in the area of financial abuse.

“Domestic violence takes many forms, including financial abuse. The devastating impacts of financial abuse were highlighted throughout the summit and Australia’s banks will continue to work with the government as they develop the next national plan to improve economic security and independence for women facing financial abuse,” Ms Bligh said.


“Many people don’t realise how prevalent financial abuse is and that it may be a red flag for future violence.”

ABA CEO Anna Bligh


“For example, when women are denied access to money or forced by their abusers to sign up for loans and debt, they are often unable to escape violent relationships. Financial abuse is too often a key feature of dangerous coercive control.”

“Many people don’t realise how prevalent financial abuse is and that it may be a red flag for future violence. For example, banks have been working to stamp out the thousands of cases of financial abuse taking place through electronic bank transfers, where abusers use the transaction description to send inappropriate and often threatening messages.”

“banks have been working to stamp out the thousands of cases of financial abuse taking place through electronic bank transfers, where abusers use the transaction description to send inappropriate and often threatening messages.”

ABA CEO Anna Bligh


In supporting customers, Australia’s banks already undertake a range of measures and practices and are always working with governments, victims of abuse and not-for-profit organisations to better support customers impacted by abuse.

Some of those measures include:

  • taking action against customers abusing others through online transaction descriptions,
  • providing protections for co-borrowers and guarantors before they enter an arrangement,
  • improving safety by keeping a customer’s information private and providing a ‘quick exit’ button on bank webpages,
  • making it easier for customers to open new (and private) accounts using alternative identification documents when gaining access to their documents is not possible,
  • helping customers to protect themselves using account settings and alternatives such as two to sign, secondary credit card holders, and children’s accounts,
  • reminding customers about their account settings, such as authorisations required for drawdowns and withdrawals,
  • training staff to recognise the warning signs of abuse and refer customers to specialist support services, and
  • helping customers regain control of their finances.

For more information about how banks raise awareness, promote consistent arrangements to support customers affected by family violence, and encourage best practices across the industry, see the industry’s guidance on financial abuse and FDV (link below).


Financial abuse and family and domestic violence (FDV) guidelines.


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