Charity Surviving Economic Abuse and Money Advice Plus have partnered to launch a national advice service for banks and building societies.
Funded by the Home Office, the service aims to build the capacity of banks and building societies to implement a new Financial Abuse Code of Practice which will improve their response to victim-survivors of domestic abuse, recognising them as vulnerable customers. The code was launched by UK Finance in October 2018 and is supported by the Building Societies Association.
The advice service provides a helpline for banks and building societies, training for staff, and toolkits to guide interactions with customers.
The service will also provide information to victims and survivors on how they can engage with banks and building societies and what can be done to support them.
Surviving Economic Abuse banking and insurance advocate Christina Govier says: “We are really excited to be launching this advisory service for banks and building societies to support them to deliver an informed and high-quality service to customers who may be experiencing economic abuse.”
Minister for crime, safeguarding and vulnerability Victoria Atkins says: “Domestic abuse is a horrendous crime that destroys lives. I know that economic abuse can leave victims isolated, vulnerable and at great risk.
“Further to this, the government’s draft Domestic Abuse Bill will include a statutory definition of domestic abuse, which includes economic abuse, to raise awareness and ensure that it is fully understood and treated just as seriously as any other form of abuse.”
UK Finance managing director of personal finance Eric Leenders says: “The financial services industry can play a key role in helping combat financial abuse, offering support to victims to help them regain control of their money. This is why we launched the voluntary code of practice last year to provide banks and building societies with further guidance. SEA’s new national advice service will help support the roll-out of the voluntary code, further raising awareness so that victims of financial abuse can receive the help and support they need.”