"I get asked a lot why CBA would get involved in this area, while there are lots of social and community reasons for it, it is also economically rational,” Ms Lewis said during the panel discussion.
“It is destroying the lives of productive and contributing members of our community. It just does not make any sense. I think business, community, government and everybody as individuals should be concerned about this issue.”
"It has been a journey of learning [for CBA]. We are not the experts in domestic or family violence, but we do know that financial abuse lies at the heart of an awful lot of family violence and coercive behaviour. We support the wellbeing of Australians, and a strong Australia means a strong Commonwealth Bank, so helping to understand the impacts of financial abuse in the family violence context is very important.”
Since 2015, Commonwealth Bank has been working with community organisations and experts to address the issue of financial abuse perpetrated through domestic and family violence. During this time, the bank has committed $30 million to the issue. In 2020, the bank extended and expanded its support for people impacted by financial abuse with the launch of Next Chapter – a program that delivers a range of services, support, resources and research to the market.
Ms Lewis said in addition to the support measures it provides to customers, the bank is always looking for ways it can better support its employees who are impacted by this issue.
"We talked a lot about stopping it at the start and I think that needs to happenin the workplace too in terms of making sure we are talking about respect in relationships, creating a culture where people feel comfortable to speak up and to seek help and support,” she said.
“This week we will actually be launching bystander training so that our people can actually find that way through stepping in when they feel something is disrespectful.”
To watch the full event, please visit the Government's Respect website.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au.
For counselling, advice and support call Men’s Referral Service on 1300 766 491 or ntv.org.au/get-help/.
In an emergency or if you are not feeling safe, always call 000.