We’ve been working closely with Shine, New Zealand Police and Women’s Refuge to understand the difficulties people impacted by family and domestic violence face and how Westpac can provide support. A new process has been put in place to help victims of domestic violence who are trying to open a new bank account and don't have ID.
Westpac’s Extra Care Programme Lead, Louisa Brock, explains "People fleeing domestic violence often find it hard to access funds and open their own bank accounts because of the paperwork required. When they leave a situation in a hurry, they often don't have the necessary IDs and without access to a bank account people struggle to have any sort of financial freedom."
We recently worked with Women’s Refuge to help a woman who had left an abusive relationship. Her partner had gone to extreme lengths to control her and burnt all her identification.
We were able to assist by using our new account opening process so the woman could get her Work and Income payment put into a secure account, so she could be financially independent.
The account was opened remotely so the woman wasn't put in danger by leaving the refuge, and a new bank card and welcome pack were sent to the Women's Refuge site.
New processes and training have also been put in place to enable our team to provide extra care consistently and compassionately to customers who may be affected by family and domestic violence.
A pilot to end people sending abusive messages with bank payments is underway with manual detection and escalation of abusive transactions. We have dedicated teams looking at preventing transaction abuse and how we can support victims of this behaviour. We want all customers to feel safe when doing their banking and we encourage them to talk to us if they have any concerns.