Everyone deserves a safe home.
Many of our community partners have reported increased domestic and family violence during the pandemic. Isolation can amplify control issues, and cut off partners from their friends and family. This puts people at greater risk of being alone with a violent partner, financial instability, stress, and unable to get family or community support.
Unfortunately, financial abuse is a common form of domestic violence that occurs when someone uses money to gain power over their partner.
In this article, we'll be taking a closer look at domestic violence in Australia and what can be done to ensure at-risk groups are adequately protected.
The toll of domestic violence
Data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare¹ reveals that while domestic violence can affect any group, women and children are most at risk.
Domestic violence is often a 'silent problem' because it's not always visible to those not affected. For example, not everybody recognises that it is a leading cause of homelessness amongst women with children. In addition, behaviours that indicate domestic abuse (such as withholding finances or creating isolation from family and friends) are not always visible, making it difficult for victims to get the support they need.
So, what can be done? Several steps can be taken at both community and governmental levels to reduce domestic violence and its effects on society. Still, most support is needed at the front line, making the most significant difference.
Beyond Bank in your community
As a customer-owned organisation, we aim to go beyond providing financial products and services to truly make a difference for Australians. The word 'community’ may get thrown around an awful lot by businesses. Still, we’ve taken things a step further via a dedicated community development team that assists not-for-profits, as well as the many vulnerable Australians among us.
When it comes to reducing the impact of domestic violence on Australian families, we're proud to support organisations like OVIS Community Services, Starick, Toora Women Inc, and the Domestic Violence Crisis Service - which provides 24-hour support to people seeking help. Other initiatives like Assistance Beyond Crisis (ABC) based in the ACT are vital to helping affected families get back on their feet. ABC provides financial assistance to anyone that has experienced domestic violence. This is essential work because one of the key reasons why abuse continues is the inability of the victim to be able to support themselves without their partner.
Eliminating domestic violence from our society is an enormous challenge that won't happen overnight. However, a little can go a long way, and by banking with us, you can rest easy knowing that a percentage of your spending is being reinvested to help those in need.
What to do if you are experiencing a form of domestic and family abuse or violence:
Seek support and work through a safety plan
- 1800 Respect (1800 737 732)
- If you are in danger contact the Police 000
- Keep copies of essential documents see escape checklist on 1800 Respect
- Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) 13 1450
¹ Australian Institute of Health and Welfare: Family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia, 2018