SEA urges banks to be ambitious by launching new award

Freelance financial journalist, Paul Lewis, to lead the panel of expert judges, which will meet in 12 months’ time to review how banks and building societies have responded to increasing interest in economic abuse and a new Financial Abuse Code of Practice

 

  • Seventy per cent of UK adults believe that financial institutions should respond to victims of economic abuse (Money Matters research)
  • Interest in the issue of economic abuse (which includes financial abuse) is at an all-time high with Government including it in new statutory definition of domestic abuse for the first time
  • UK Finance has recently launched a Financial Abuse Code of Practice to guide the response of banks and building societies
  • Surviving Economic Abuse launches ‘best practice’ award for banks and building societies
  • Freelance financial journalist, Paul Lewis, to lead the panel of expert judges

Interest in the issue of economic abuse (which includes financial abuse) is at an all-time high. The Government has proposed including economic abuse within the statutory definition of domestic abuse in new legislation expected early next year. In addition, UK Finance with the support of the Building Societies Association has recently launched a Financial Abuse Code of Practice – guiding how banks and building societies should respond to this issue.

The new Code sets out a baseline response. Surviving Economic Abuse (SEA) believes that financial institutions can and should build on it and set their ambitions high. For this reason the charity brought together the banking and violence against women and girls sector on 6 December to explore how the Code can be brought to life. Delegates heard from Norm Kalcovski, Head of Customer Care at National Australia Bank which is transforming responses to this issue. SEA also launched a ‘best practice’ award for banks and building societies to work towards over the next 10 months and demonstrate their own innovation in this area.

Paul Lewis said: “It’s taken society a long time to understand that economic abuse is part of domestic violence – that controlling people’s economic power is as important as subjugating them physically. We’ve got to make sure that the banks really do the things that they’ve said. The thing’s we’ll be looking at are actual outcomes. Not just saying they’ve done this and that but what they have actually achieved by the change. So I hope I’ll be here in a years’ time, telling you who are the winners of the best practice awards.”

Dr. Nicola Sharp-Jeffs said: We know that banks and building societies already go to great lengths to support customers who experience economic abuse. And we think that the recent traction will only encourage them to do better. It’s fantastic to see Government, financial institutions and others coming together to take this issue seriously and ensure that customers receive a consistent response and are encouraged to come forward. I am therefore delighted to announce that we are launching a best practice award to recognise these efforts. I’m also excited that Paul Lewis has agreed to lead the judging panel of expert judges who will announce the winners and share best practice in 12 months’ time.”

The award winners will be chosen by a panel of expert judges, led by freelance financial journalist, Paul Lewis. The panel will also include Sarah Pennells (Savvy Woman), Jessamy Gould (Treebeard Foundation), Karen Perrier (Money Advice Plus), Marisa Bate (writer and advocate for women’s rights), Dr Olumide Adisa (Suffolk Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Suffolk), Sue Lewis (SEA Trustee) and Ali (SEA Expert by Experience Group member).

Meet the judges. 

The criteria will be developed and shared in January 2019 and will be looking for practice which can demonstrate real impact. The banking panel will collate real examples of best practice, with the aim of encouraging others in financial institutions to take something from them.

 

For more information about the award please email info@survivingeconomicabuse.org