The $5 million investment will support organisations including (but not limited to) Domestic Violence NSW (DVNSW), Financial Counselling Australia (FCA), and Women’s Information and Referral Exchange (WIRE), who deliver much needed support to people impacted by domestic and family violence; Social Ventures Australia, a not-for-profit organisation that works with partners to alleviate disadvantage; as well as institutions like the UNSW Gendered Violence Research Network who contribute to the academic research, evidence and understanding of the issue.
In addition, CBA has launched a dedicated workspace in Melbourne where the bank will partner with a range of leading community organisations, academics, survivors and advocates to design new models for sustainable financial support for Australians in vulnerable circumstances.
Today’s announcement demonstrates CBA’s long-term focus on this issue, which has seen $25 million committed over five years to help Australians affected by domestic and family violence, working alongside partners including Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia and Fitted for Work.
Commonwealth Bank CEO, Matt Comyn, said: “Many Australians know domestic and family violence is an urgent issue but far fewer are aware of how closely it is linked to financial abuse. Disturbingly, research tells us that financial abuse is prevalent in domestic and family violence situations up to 90 per cent of the time. The impact of this is not only devastating for the individual but also for the wider community.
“As Australia’s largest bank, we are committed to improving the financial wellbeing of all Australians, including the most vulnerable. That’s why we’re investing in, and working closely with organisations that specialise in domestic and family violence to better understand the issue and demonstrate how we can best support people in vulnerable circumstances when they need us most.
“Over the coming months, we will work side-by-side with our partners and experts in a new collaborative workspace dedicated to creating financial solutions and support to help victims and survivors of domestic and family violence achieve long-term financial independence.
“While CBA has an important role to play, we’re not the experts or the sole solution. Now more than ever is the time for individuals, business, the community and government to come together to shine a light on this issue, because we can’t afford not to,” said Mr Comyn.
DVNSW CEO, Moo Baulch, said: “Commonwealth Bank has worked closely with a range of family violence organisations and support services over the last few years to understand their most effective and appropriate contribution in addressing domestic and financial abuse.
“This new investment demonstrates that they are willing to not just continue the commitment to the strong partnerships that they’ve developed but to lead Australia’s awareness of financial abuse and build the capacity of the services supporting victim-survivors.
“This is a new and exciting way of working with not-for-profit organisations. We are proud of the work that we’ve developed with CBA; thanks to their donation we will continue the DVNSW Voices for Change Survivor Advocacy project which supports the voices of people with lived experience.”
Financial abuse in the context of domestic and family violence is a hidden epidemic. Approximately one in four women and one in thirteen men in Australia have experienced at least one incident of violence by an intimate partner1. Among those who seek support, up to 90 per cent are also affected by financial abuse.
Despite its prevalence, a lack of awareness of the issue means identifying and preventing it can be challenging. Commonwealth Bank believes there is more to be done to highlight the issue and more broadly will look to contribute to and elevate the national discussion by increasing education and awareness of domestic and family violence and the underlying issue of financial abuse.
In an emergency or if you’re not feeling safe, always call 000.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au.
For counselling, advice and support call MensLine Australia on 1300 78 99 78 or www.mensline.org.au.
 2016 Personal Safety Survey, Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2017.