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Australian Bureau of Statistics data reveals 16 per cent of women and 8 per cent of men have experienced economic abuse in partner relationships (Bigstock)

A new federal inquiry is set to shine a light on financial abuse in Australia, which is considered a more hidden form of family and domestic violence. Source: ABC News.

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services will examine the issue, looking into the effectiveness of existing laws and the role that banks can play in identifying and preventing the problem.

Committee chair Deborah O’Neill said the inquiry would have an “educative” role in raising awareness with the general public, and also recommend reforms.

“This inquiry is determined to get to the bottom of the prevalence and the impact of this financial abuse, and find out what the financial institutions are doing to identify the behaviour, and to record and report any abuse,” she said.

Economic abuse includes actions aimed at controlling or sabotaging access to economic resources, resulting in emotional harm or fear.

It can include interfering with bank accounts, accumulating debt on shared accounts or delaying property and child support payments post-relationship.

Advocates have welcomed the inquiry, saying it’s vital to implement protective measures to protect victim-survivors.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Australian Banking Association said action was already being taken to stamp out financial abuse, including training staff to spot red flags and referring customers to specialised support.

The inquiry will not only look at financial abuse in partner relationships but also economic abuse involving the elderly.

Senator O’Neill said the inquiry had been “too long in the making”, as the issue grew in the Australian community.

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show 16 per cent of women and 8 per cent of men have experienced economic abuse in partner relationships.

The parliamentary committee is calling for public submissions to the inquiry, including from victim-survivors with lived experience, frontline organisations and banks.

Submissions are due to close in mid-June.


Parliamentary inquiry to examine the role of banks in preventing financial abuse (By Alison Xiao, ABC News)