Tackling a hidden form of family violence

Good Shepherd Microfinance has launched Australia’s most comprehensive and innovative financial abuse online training program.

Women and Money: An Introduction to Financial Abuse will be rolled out to the 1,500 workers and volunteers in the No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS) to help them identify financial abuse among clients and make appropriate referrals to support services.

Financial abuse is a form of family violence that negatively impacts a person financially and undermines their efforts to become economically independent.

It’s estimated that two million women in Australia have experienced financial abuse, yet awareness of the issue is so low that many women who have experienced financial abuse don’t identify themselves as victims.

The financial conversations NILS workers have with their clients gives them a unique opportunity to identify financial abuse and refer them to family violence support services.  While a borrower is unlikely to identify financial abuse as the reason for their loans, that doesn’t mean it isn’t – we want our network to know the tell-tale signs of financial abuse and to have the confidence and skills to raise the issue.

One of the top five reasons women stay with violent partners relates to finance, so by tackling financial abuse we’re also addressing family violence more broadly.

Women and Money: An Introduction to Financial Abuse was officially launched by Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, at the 2015 National NILS Conference. Watch her speech here.

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