New insights report: Economic Harm Support Service Pilot
August 31, 2022
Our new interim report provides a brief insight into the issues we have observed in the first six months of our Economic Harm Support Service pilot, including areas where we believe our clients are affected by the unintended consequences of government and financial sector policies and processes.
Since November last year, we have been piloting an Economic Harm Support Service for people affected by economic harm, a form of family violence, based on the recommendations of our 2018 research into economic abuse.
We identified some important insights after just six months of offering the service – including changes we can all make now that will have an immediate positive impact on people who are dealing with the effects of economic harm.
You can find these actions and insights in our insights report.
Based on what we have seen so far, we believe there is a need for a dedicated service that provides an economic harm lens to support people to work through the financial impact of economic harm, advocate with creditors, rebuild their financial resilience and establish a life free from family violence.
We also believe there are changes that can be made now that can have an immediate impact on the economic wellbeing of people who have suffered from economic harm – specifically for banks and creditors, to establish clear guidelines on how to respond to Protection Orders and to limit liability on joint debts in cases of family violence.
We will continue to gather data to complete a detailed evaluation, including the number of clients who have accessed the service, and the needs of those clients. This data will be used to assess the impact of the pilot and inform our approach to the long-term sustainability of the service beyond the pilot phase.
We are very grateful to the clients who allowed us to share their stories for this report – their identifying details have been changed.
We wish to thank BNZ for supporting us to pilot a specialist no-interest ‘Good Loan’ as part of the total support package we are able to offer through this Economic Harm Support Service.
We wish to acknowledge BNZ, ASB and Westpac banks’ customer vulnerability teams for working with us to conscientiously review the experiences of shared clients, so we can establish the respective roles we have to play in better responding to the financial needs of victims of family violence.