BNZ offers banking support to domestic and economic abuse victim survivors

Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) has announced today it is, in partnership with other organisations working in the sector, launching a dedicated domestic and economic violence banking team.

BNZ Chief People Officer, Kate Daly, says, “New Zealand has a terrible record on domestic and inter-partner violence. People in these situations are extremely vulnerable, their lives are turned upside down, and all the things many others rely upon like their family, jobs, friends as well as access to the basics like food, shelter, and their money, may be being impacted.

“They have complex needs and need the best support we can offer. We are working with other expert support organisations, like Women’s Refuge to make sure that they are talking to a specialist who understands what is going on and help them get what they need,” says Daly.

BNZ’s new domestic and inter-partner violence programme is being set up with advice from expert academics and support organisations. It does not deal directly with the public and will only be accessible on referral from support organisations, like refuges, so that the specialised support BNZ can give them fits into the other support they are getting.

Daly says the role of money in these situations often goes below the radar, but it has a tremendous impact.

“Economic abuse takes many faces, but can be largely categorised into three areas – control, where a partner uses money to control someone, taking their pay and removing access to bank accounts for example, limiting, where a partner limits how someone uses money, how it’s spent, where, and taking all their assets, and sabotage, where a partner creates an uneven financial picture, for example putting all debits in another partner’s name.

“Abuse through money and economic resources can create financial instability and make someone dependent on an abuser. It can be easy to become trapped and experience even more harm.

“This kind of behaviour sadly isn’t rare, and it cuts across all of society – all demographics, all socioeconomic groups, all kinds of relationships.

“Minimising harm and vulnerability requires broad work across society, from governments, social services, and from companies alike. BNZ is committed to playing its part to support victim survivors,” says Daly.

It is expected the domestic violence support team will be up and running, ready to work with support organisations and vulnerable customers in the next two weeks.

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