Economic harm: Working together to make a difference

November 24, 2022

Wiping and reducing unmanageable debts, upskilling employees, monitoring abusive transactions and adapting processes to be more flexible are some of the actions taken by New Zealand organisations working together across sectors to support people experiencing economic harm.

For International Economic Harm Awareness Day (IEHAD) we have released a snapshot that underlines the shift that’s been happening to support better outcomes for New Zealanders experiencing economic harm.

Last year we led Aotearoa New Zealand’s first-ever IEAHD, where we focused on raising awareness of economic harm by sharing stories of lived experience and highlighting the devastating and long-lasting impact it has on people’s lives. Since last year, we have seen a shift in responses and available supports that are specific to economic harm – including from banks, insurance companies, not-for-profits, debt collection agencies and more.

Quote from snapshot:

“I remember Good Shepherd NZ helping me reach out to my bank for support with $6,000 of debt. When my bank wiped the debt I just cried! It didn’t seem real. It halved my debt problem and I could finally begin to see the end.”

We know a lack of financial independence and the long-lasting impacts of economic harm (like a poor credit history or unmanageable debt) are key reasons people feel unable to leave violent relationships or are unable to overcome the enduring effects of abuse to establish a life free from violence and achieve independence – making economic harm a critical component to overcoming family violence in our country.

Our snapshot showcases the progress that’s been made, and the positive impact organisations’ responses can have on their customers and clients.

It also provides a blueprint of actions that can be replicated and further developed across a range of sectors; to help you look with fresh eyes at the role you can play to eliminate family violence in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Below are a few highlights from our snapshot.

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Reciprocal referral pathways have been created between family violence and debt collection agencies, financial mentors, insurance companies and banks to ensure people can access the right support.
Banks and creditors have worked with social services to reduce or write off debts for clients experiencing economic harm.
More than 3,000 people working in financial services, health and the community sector attended presentations to learn more about economic harm and how to direct clients to the appropriate support.
DebtManagers worked with Good Shepherd NZ’s economic harm support service to establish fairer repayment plans and provide debt relief and write-offs for clients experiencing economic harm.
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We know it can be overwhelming to consider how much work there is to be done to address economic harm when it is such a complex issue. But, as our snapshot demonstrates, if we continue to work together we can make a difference and tackle economic harm.

Click here to read our snapshot

Thank you...

to the individuals who shared their stories for this snapshot.

And to the following organisations for their contribution to this important work:

Suncorp NZ