Financial abuse support
Financial abuse occurs when one person manipulates another to control their finances and property without their consent.
There are many types of financial abuse and it can happen to anyone, no matter how old, or how much money they have.
If you feel you're in a financially abusive situation, please do not hesitate to speak to any member of our staff.
How we can help you
There are many different ways we can help you to regain control of your banking. Of course this will depend on your personal circumstances as everyone’s situation will be different.
Our staff will also ensure that we respect your privacy and confidentiality. We know that telling us about your circumstances may be difficult, and our goal is to minimise you repeating your story.
We have also established a specialised team who can help you, or your authorised representative, regain control of your finances. Our staff will protect your confidentiality and safety at all times.
Are you experiencing financial abuse?
Financial abuse can come in the form of Elder, Domestic, Disability and/or Language/Cultural abuse.
Elder financial abuse is a specific form of exploitation. It may also be emotional abuse.
There are many forms of elder financial abuse, but there is a common thread. In general, it is an effort by unscrupulous person/s to extract money and resources through a variety of devious means from elderly persons.
- coercion through bullying and intimidation
- undue influence for personal gain
- misuse of a person's Power of Attorney or Guardianship instructions
In general, all involve improper use of an older person’s assets.
Financial abuse of a disabled person is any act involving the misuse of the person’s money or property. This is done without their full knowledge, consent or understanding.
This can be against an individual with a physical and/or mental disability. It deprives them of vital financial resources for their personal needs.
Domestic financial abuse may occur when a person uses money as a means to gain power and control over their partner.
This type of abuse is when a victim can be trapped in an abusive relationship with the person doing such things as:
- forbidding access to bank accounts
- providing an inadequate allowance
- not allowing the victim to work
- forcing the victim to sign documents or make false declarations
- denying that the victim has an entitlement to joint property.
This is not an exhaustive list.
This type of financial abuse can be subtle. A person gradually takes control over bank accounts and financial transactions. Domestic financial abuse can also be obvious, violent and threatening.
It may not be until after a relationship has ended that the customer realises that they are a victim of financial abuse.
People who speak little English, including from Indigenous communities, are at an increased risk of financial abuse.
Due to the difficulties in gaining information about banking services and products, they often trust others to help. This can be a trusted family member or friend, who they use them to interpret for them.
This can lead to the person becoming a victim of financial abuse without their full understanding of the circumstances.
Frequently asked questions
Why is the Bank focusing on financial abuse?
The community’s expectations have changed over time and it is now recognised that we all have a part to play in assisting those vulnerable members of our community.
Please refer to the Australian Banking Association website which details how the ABA is working with a number of organisations to promote good practice and clearer processes for banks so they can better support customers who may be vulnerable to financial abuse.
What is financial abuse?
Financial abuse is when someone takes away your access to money. A person may manipulate your financial decisions or use your money without consent.
Once you know this, let our staff know, as there are ways to get help and regain your independence.
What can the Bank offer customers impacted by financial abuse?
Our staff have been trained to recognise and assist a customer who may be a victim of financial abuse. It is important for us to help and support customers to navigate through their situation to financial independence.
This may include:
- Arranging new accounts or other banking services.
- Working with different areas of the bank on the customers behalf.
- Referring customers to external agencies and financial counsellors.
Are there some warning signs I should look out for?
Yes there are many. Here’s just a few:
- Check your transactions regularly and let us know if there are any transactions you don’t recognise.
- Don’t let anyone speak for you or make you feel rushed to make a financial decision. Eg. Withdrawing a large amount of cash from your account, or setting up e-banking.
- Don’t allow anyone calling you to access your computer or provide them with your bank account details.
- Make sure you understand what financial access you are giving to a family member or friend by adding them as a signatory to your account.
Most importantly, if you suspect you are being financially abused, please let us know so we can help you.