Women and Money: An introduction to financial abuse
In mid-2014 the Good Shepherd Microfinance identified the issue of financial abuse as an emerging area of research and one of increasing relevance to microfinance workers. Research conducted by Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand revealed approximately 80 per cent of those who have experienced family violence have been subject to financial abuse.
Financial abuse is a form of family violence that negatively impacts a person financially and undermines their efforts to become economically independent.
Feedback from the microfinance workers indicated they were seeing the signs of financial abuse on an increasingly regular basis, but were unsure what to do about it or how to deal with it. It was clear there was a genuine need to further build the financial literacy of microfinance workers to assist them to identify when financial abuse was occurring and educate them on how to best support their clients.
As a result, Good Shepherd Microfinance approached ASIC’s MoneySmart team who invited them to join a partnership between them and the Office for Women. An e-learning module would form part of the deliverables under the umbrella, “Building Women’s Financial Literacy and Economic Security” project. The module would answer the organisational and societal need for training and address the key actions from research recommendations of professional development for frontline workers.
The result, Good Shepherd Microfinance’s ‘Women and Money: An Introduction to Financial Abuse’ is Australia’s most comprehensive and innovative financial abuse online training program. The program was launched by Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash (pictured), at the 2015 National No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) Conference in Sydney.
The online learning program is available to 1,500 microfinance workers and volunteers to help them identify financial abuse among clients and make appropriate referrals to support services. It seeks to build their capacity to identify possible abuse and support women’s financial decision-making and wellbeing in this context, by making appropriate, safe and respectful referrals.
The module can be tailored for a variety of audiences including corporate, government and community sectors.