What is financial abuse?
Financial abuse is a serious form of domestic and family violence that occurs when an abuser uses money, finances or assets as a means to gain power and control over someone else, with or without their full knowledge and understanding of the situation.
Are you experiencing financial abuse?
Financial abuse can happen to anyone and can occur in several ways:
Domestic financial abuse may occur when a person uses money as a means to gain power and control over a family member or partner, and can often overlap with other types of financial abuse.
Domestic financial abuse also often occurs alongside other kinds of violence, such as physical or emotional abuse. This type of financial abuse can also be more subtle, with the abuser gradually taking control over bank accounts, financial transactions and other financial freedoms. It may not be until after a relationship has ended that someone realises that they are a victim of financial abuse.
Older and elderly people can be more vulnerable to financial abuse as they often depend on others for help with financial tasks and decisions. In general, all instances of elder financial abuse involve improper use of an older person’s assets and can occur through a number of different avenues, such as fraud, scams and misuse of Power of Attorney.
Financial abuse of a disabled person is any act that involves the misuse of assets belonging to this person. This can take place with or without their full knowledge, consent or understanding. Abuse can occur against an individual with a physical and/or mental disability and often results in restricting access to vital financial resources needed to ensure a disabled person's wellbeing.
People who speak little or no English are at an increased risk of financial abuse within Australia.
Due to the difficulties in gaining information about banking services and products, they often trust others, such as a family member or friend, to help them with language barriers. This can potentially lead to the person becoming a victim of financial abuse without their full understanding of the circumstances due to the language barriers they face.
How to keep your finances safe
There are ways to keep your finances safe if you’re experiencing financial abuse. Before taking any of these steps, consider your personal safety, and the safety of others if necessary, and have a safety plan in place.
The more you understand about financial abuse, the more likely you, your family and friends will be able to identify and act to prevent it. Visit our Security page to find out how we protect you and learn more about how to protect yourself.
How Credit Union SA can support you
There are several ways we can help you to regain control of your banking and finances. How we can help you will depend on your personal circumstances, as everyone’s situation will be different.
Our staff will also ensure that we respect and protect your privacy, confidentiality and safety at all times. We understand that financial abuse is a very complex and personal issue and that telling us about your circumstances may be very difficult. Our goal is to support you through this difficult experience.
It's important to remember that if you and your partner, ex-partner or family member have joint loans or accounts with us, then you're both our customers. Any information about a joint loan (such as balances and payments that you make) will be available to the co-borrower. We will assist in supporting and resolving matters with you as individuals where possible, even when it relates to joint matters.
We’re here to help you. You can contact us by calling us, visiting our branch, making an appointment, or using Web Chat or Secure Mail.
External Emergency, Counselling and Support Services
The National Sexual Assault Domestic Violence Counselling Service offers confidential online and telephone counselling, information and referral services. Contact their support service on 1800 737 732, 24 hours, 7 days a week.
Lifeline provides Australians experiencing a personal crisis with 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services on 13 11 14.
For information on depression and anxiety and where to get help, visit online or contact their support service on 1300 224 636.
A free service offering national telephone and online support, information and referrals for men with family and relationship concerns. Call 1300 789 978.
The Disability Gateway has information and services to help people with a disability, as well as their family, friends and carers, to find the support they need in Australia. Contact 1800 643 787 for support.
The Free Interpreting Service (FIS) aims to provide equitable access to key services, which are not government funded, for people with limited or no English language proficiency. Call 13 14 50.
Be Connected is an award-winning Australian Government initiative that offers over 150 online learning modules and 350 learning activities that promote digital and online skills, knowledge and confidence. From setting strong passwords to communicating on social media and spotting scams, it is a powerful resource for older Australians to protect themselves.