Youth mentors explore economic harm

July 1, 2021

Mentors from Big Brothers Big Sisters gained insight into economic harm and the important role they can play to prevent it.

Our recent economic harm training session with Big Brothers Big Sisters of New Zealand explored economic harm, the importance of healthy financial relationships for young people and the important role mentors can play to encourage healthy conversations about money.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of New Zealand provides over 950 tamariki, between the age of six and 12, with a trained mentor throughout its 13 programme locations across Aotearoa.

The organisation has been looking at how it could upskill its mentors to provide even better support to young people and empower mentors to do their bit to prevent family violence.

Economic harm, often called financial or economic abuse, is recognised as a form of psychological abuse within the Family Violence Act. 

It is behaviour towards a person that controls, restricts or removes their access to money, economic resources or participation in financial decisions.

Unhealthy financial relationships can be the beginning of behaviour that leads to economic harm.

The session

Our Economic Harm Advisor Beryl Brogden led the session and unravelled the complexity of money and relationships, whilst discussing the importance of having financial conversations.

Beryl shared:

“Economic harm is not something that people necessarily know about. But whenever I explain what it is, they start nodding and saying that this is exactly what happened to their aunt or their friend. Once they know, it seems so obvious,”

The open discussion session touched upon the value of including young people in financial decisions.

“At first the group was unsure about talking to young people about economic harm,” Beryl said.

“But once the mentors understood there was an opportunity to build on what they were already doing as role models; being mindful of the way they talk and behave in order to shape and empower young people to make healthy financial decisions, they became excited”.

Moving forward

For us to prevent the next generation from experiencing economic harm it is crucial other organisations, like Big Brothers Big Sisters of New Zealand, help us raise awareness of the importance of healthy financial conversations in relationships.

Trends from overseas suggest economic harm is prevalent between 80 and 95 percent of all reported incidences of family violence.

If you would like to learn more about economic harm and what your organisation can do to make a difference, please get in touch to discover your options.

Big Brothers Big Sisters Mentoring Manager Faye Higgins said:

“Thank you so much for coming to speak to us.  We are so grateful to have you share your mahi and insight with us and hear how our mentors can support and empower our young people to see there can be a different path for them. The feedback we have already had from our group was it was insightful and thought-provoking.”

Click here to read more about the work we’re doing to tackle economic harm