In this section:

Preventing financial abuse

Responsible government

  • Commonwealth

Fourth Action Plan actions

  • Primary prevention is key
    • 1 Advance gender equality and respect for women through effective primary prevention initiatives.
    • 2 Improve coordination across primary prevention activities to maximise their impact on community attitudes and behaviours that lead to violence.
  • Respect, listen and respond to the diverse lived experience and knowledge of women and their children affected by violence
    • 11 Deliver policies and services to address the disproportionate impact of violence on particular groups.

What are we doing?

The Commonwealth Government is currently consulting with key stakeholders across government, non-government and industry sectors to:

  • map existing approaches to preventing financial abuse to identify effective initiatives, gaps and areas for improvement
  • design and deliver new initiatives to prevent financial abuse
  • improve the overall coordination and delivery of initiatives aimed at preventing financial abuse
  • educate people about healthy financial relationships
  • equip financial service providers with resources to assist those at risk of financial abuse
  • develop resources that consider the unique experience of specific groups of women, including:
    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women
    • women with disability
    • women from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds
    • LGBTIQ+ women.

What have we achieved so far?

  • A Literature Review on Preventing the Financial Abuse of Women was finalised and published on the Office for Women website. The Literature Review maps out existing approaches to preventing financial abuse, identifies effective initiatives, gaps and areas for improvement. The document was informed through 60 consultation sessions and meetings with 66 organisations that support people experiencing financial abuse.
  • A Community Grant was awarded to Harmony Alliance to translate their financial literacy e-learning tool into ten community languages (Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), Dari, Hazaragi, Karen, Korean, Nepali, Punjabi, Thai, and Vietnamese). The translated versions are now available on the Harmony Alliance website with the aim of supporting culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) women to improve their financial literacy as well as enhance understanding of financial abuse among CALD communities.
  • A Prevention of the Financial Abuse of Women Workshop was held July 7, 2021, to help inform initiatives under the prevention of Financial Abuse Project. The workshop included over 50 participants from financial, utilities, legal and domestic family violence support sectors. This consultation was also included as an additional consultation for the development of the next National Plan to end violence against women and children.
  • A Guide to the Treatment of Relationship Debt in Family Law was developed and released by the Attorney General’s Department. The Debt Guide provides information to empower women to avoid unfairly assuming sole responsibility for relationship debts, and supporting women to achieve economic independence following separation.

What is next?

  • The Guide to the Treatment of Relationship Debt in Family Law will be translated and released in six community languages. This will increase access to a broader group of women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
  • The development of Supporting Womens Financial Safety: A Guide to Prevention and Action on Financial Abuse within the Financial Service Sector. The guide was identified as a valuable addition during the scoping phase of the Prevention of Financial Abuse against Women Project. The guide will encourage industries where people enter into contract service agreements, such as financial and utilities industries, to put women’s safety at the centre of new and revised products. The project is due for completion late 2021.
  • A project evaluation will be finalised in early 2022.

What difference will we make?

The intended outcomes of this initiative include:

  • increased awareness of financial literacy and financial abuse
  • changes in attitudes and greater recognition that financial control in a relationship is unhealthy and a form of coercive control
  • reduced incidence of financial abuse over the long-term.

These activities will contribute to changes in awareness and attitudes measured through the National Community Attitudes towards Violence against Women Survey.

An independent evaluation will measure the success of individual initiatives, including measures of reach.

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