Victims of family violence who suffer financially at the hands of perpetrators will have access to new specially trained financial counsellors, thanks to a $1.75 million investment by the Andrews Labor Government. Financial abuse is a form of family violence. Perpetrators often take full control of their victim’s savings and spending, rendering them financially dependent.
It can contribute to victims being trapped in abusive relationships. Recruitment and training is underway for financial counsellors, specialising in financial abuse, who will be placed in agencies across Victoria.
The financial counsellors will help those in abusive relationships by negotiating with creditors and debt collectors, helping to protect assets from repossession and helping victims access financial hardship programs. The funding will be used to employ 10 new, full time family violence financial counsellors and provide financial abuse training for all Victorian financial counsellors.
It will also help industry – including utilities, telecommunications and finance – develop guidelines to respond to family violence and financial abuse. This new funding is in addition to the $7.8 million provided by the Andrews Labor Government for the Financial Counselling Program run by Consumer Affairs Victoria. These initiatives align with recommendations of the Royal Commission into Family Violence.
Member for Melton, Don Nardella said:
Family violence takes many forms. These ground breaking initiatives targeting financial abuse will go a long way to helping victims and those at risk.
Specialised private and confidential counselling services will help financial abuse survivors and victims create a better life for themselves.
This is an Australian first. Financial counsellors specifically helping victims of family violence or financial abuse is a key response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission.