Sian Lewis is Group Executive, Human Resources at Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Sian is focused on helping the Bank ensure people and communities are skilled for the future, that she offers the very best experiences for employees, and that CBA’s culture is anchored in our values of care, courage and commitment. She is also committed to promoting employee wellbeing and supporting an inclusive and diverse workforce. Sian talks about the warning signs of financial abuse and how Commbank are supporting victims. You may think it will never happen to you, but financial abuse doesn’t discriminate and can happen to anybody. According to new research from CommBank and Deloitte, a staggering 1 in 30 women and 1 in 50 men are subjected to financial abuse in any given year. Unfortunately, the figures also reveal the direct cost to victim-survivors in Australia is $5.7 billion. This results in an estimated cost of $5.2 billion to the broader Australian economy.
The research also reveals a shocking 600,000+ Aussies (equivalent to 2.4% of the population) aged 18 years and older were subjected to financial abuse by a current or former intimate partner in 2020. Financial abuse manifests in different forms and these behaviours can include withholding or controlling income, refusing to contribute to shared household bills, refusal to contribute to shared expenses for children or liability for joint debts assigned by the perpetrator. The figures only tell the start of the story – financial abuse has a destructive effect on a victim’s life with the abuse resulting in financial hardship, stress, housing insecurity, and their inability to gain independence and leave the abusive relationship. CommBank has been working to better understand the impacts of financial abuse in Australia since 2015 and as such launched the Next Chapter program in 2020. Next Chapter focuses on support, advocacy, and prevention and offers access to a range of resources to help Aussies learn the signs of financial abuse, what they can do if they or a loved one falls victim to it, and what support services are available. To combat financial abuse, CommBank’s Next Chapter program is launching the CommBank Next Chapter Commitment to encourage Aussies to take action against this hidden epidemic and help end financial abuse in Australia.
For more information, visit https://www.commbank.com.au/support/next-chapter.html
If you need support go to: https://www.1800respect.org.au/violence-and-abuse/financial-abuse/toolkit or Call 1800 RESPECT (1800737732)