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2022-11-07 12:47 pm

Financial abuse

What to do if you’re experiencing family violence or coercive control.

Living room with a folded green blanket and orange cushion sitting on a grey couch

This page is for people experiencing financial abuse. Here you’ll learn about the steps you can take to protect your banking and what you can do if you’re in financial difficulty. If you're in immediate danger, call 000.

How we can help

We’ll protect your confidentiality. If you tell us you’re experiencing family violence or financial abuse, we won’t disclose what you tell us to anyone else.

Note these legal exceptions

In NSW and NT we’re bound by certain laws and may be required to disclose some of what you share with us. You can read about this in the Australian Banking Industry Guidelines

Setting up safe banking

There are things we could do straight away to help you feel safer if someone is controlling your money. 

We can: 

  • set up your own accounts 
  • update your details so your accounts only belong to you
  • update your accounts so statements and bank information is sent to a private address or email address
  • update your passwords and account security so only you can access them.

Financial hardship support

We can also help you figure out how to manage money if you’re having trouble meeting loan or credit card payments. 

For example:  

  • extend the loan period
  • reduce your repayments
  • postpone the due date for payment for a specified period
  • provide an interest rate reduction
  • provide support just for you, even if you have a joint loan.

How to apply for hardship support

How to contact us safely

The safest way to reach us is to call rather than message us. 

Call 132 888

(Outside Australia we’re on +61 3 9854 4666)

Monday to Friday 8:00am-8:00pm AEST/AEDT 

Saturday 9:00am-2:00pm

Why calling could be best
If sharing an account or the other person can access your details, they may be able to see what you’ve written – whether you post it in internet banking or send an email. 

What is family violence?

Family violence (also called domestic violence) is any violent, threatening, coercive or controlling behaviour that occurs in a family or relationships, including past relationships.

It can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, sexuality or financial situation.

While women make up the majority of those experiencing family violence, elder abuse is an increasing issue. Older people can be vulnerable as they often depend on others for help with financial tasks and decisions.

What financial abuse looks like

Financial abuse is a form of family violence that involves the use of power, control or manipulation over someone’s finances or financial situation. 

Financial abuse can include: 

  • denying you access to your own finances, bank accounts and financial records
  • preventing you from working or studying
  • threatening to stop supporting you or your children
  • encouraging you to hand over control of assets you own
  • making you take out loans or credit cards in your name that are for someone else, or guarantee a loan
  • controlling all the decisions about how money is spent in your household
  • using joint debts to stop you leaving a relationship
  • asking you to explain all your spending
  • taking out loans or credit cards in your name, without you knowing
  • not paying their share of joint loans or delaying property settlements to cause you financial stress or hardship.

More links and information

  • 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) – a free, confidential family violence and sexual assault support service that operates 24 hours 7 days a week. A free confidential online chat service is also available.
  • Lifeline (131 114) – 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention service. 
  • Men's Referral Service (No to violence) (1300 766 491) – a free, confidential support service for men taking responsibility for their violent behaviour. Available 24/7 in Tasmania and New South Wales; and 8am-9pm weekdays & 9am-6pm weekends in other states. A free confidential online web chat is also available 8am-9pm weekdays.
  • Mensline (1300 789 978) – a free, confidential phone counselling service available 24/7 for men with family and relationship concerns. Online counselling is also available. 
  • My Aged Care (1800 200 422) – links to state and territory elder abuse resource centres, plus information on how to get help, support and referrals. 

Get help today

If you’re at risk or know someone who needs help, contact us or call 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732).

A person holding a phone with Bank Australia digital banking on the screen