Domestic and family violence

Help in protecting or strengthening your financial independence, managing your finances safely if and when you leave, or rebuilding for a secure long-term future.

Domestic and family violence can happen to anyone and cause you to live in fear. You may need help in protecting or strengthening your financial independence, managing your finances safely if and when you leave, or rebuilding for a secure long-term future.
 

  • Call 000 if you are in immediate danger.
  • To access 24/7 counselling and support call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit the 1800RESPECT.
  • To speak with a specialist team at Westpac who can help you manage your finances during difficult circumstances call Priority Assist on 1800 063 509.

What is domestic and family violence

Domestic and family violence can happen to anyone, at any time, no matter their age, gender, sexual orientation, geographic location, cultural or religious beliefs, or economic status.

Westpac defines domestic and family violence as behaviour by a person towards a current or former family member that:

  • Is physically or sexually abusive;
  • Is emotionally or psychologically abusive;
  • Is economically abusive (limiting access to money or impacting overall financial wellbeing);
  • Is threatening or coercive;
  • Controls or dominates the family member in any other way, causing that family member to fear for their safety or wellbeing, or that of a family member or another person; or
  • Causes a child to hear, witness, or otherwise be exposed to the effects of other domestic and family violence behaviours.

Every person’s situation is unique and the right actions for you will depend on your individual circumstances. We can help you as you make decisions about your circumstances.

Protecting your privacy

We understand that privacy and confidentiality can be critical to safety in any domestic and family violence situation and will take care to protect your personal information in line with our Privacy Policy.

Depending on your personal circumstances, we can help you:

  • Change your online banking login details, password and PINs to help protect the security of your information. Please note this may not be appropriate in circumstances where a violent family member is controlling your finances using your details, and any change may be a threat to your safety.
  • Change arrangements for anything we may need to send to you. For example, by nominating the mailing address of a trusted family member or PO Box. We can also arrange for any new debit or credit cards to be delivered for collection at your local branch.

Protecting your money

Depending on your personal circumstances, we can help you:

  • Remove or change your online banking access. Note that this may not be appropriate in circumstances where this could cause a risk to your personal safety.
  • Cancel any additional credit cards. A ‘primary’ credit cardholder is liable for any outstanding balances. We can cancel any additional cards to avoid more debt being incurred. Please note that when a change is made, we are required to notify the primary cardholder of the change.
  • Understand your power of attorney arrangement, if you have one. If you have revoked an existing power of attorney or appointed a new attorney, we will update our records accordingly.

Maintaining or regaining control of your finances

We understand that any separation can be a time of financial difficulty. In some cases, financial worry can be a barrier to leaving a violent situation. Customers experiencing domestic and family violence who would like to discuss financial difficulty or concerns in relation to debts owed to the Westpac Group, including payment of joint loans, can call the Priority Assist team directly on 1800 063 509. The team will determine assistance on a case by case basis, which may include for example:

  • Giving you time and space, for example varying loan repayments and / or extending terms for short term financial relief until you are able to discuss your longer-term plans.
  • Reviewing your banking needs. For example, you might consider switching to a low rate credit card.

We can help you to work through your financial arrangements and separate them from your family member, where possible. We understand that gaining financial self-sufficiency can often be the difference between staying in or leaving a violent situation. We can help you:

In some cases, we may refer you to an independent and free financial counselling service. A financial counsellor can help you with your overall financial situation, advise you on what other benefits or support you might be entitled to, and refer you on to the appropriate family violence support services in your local area.

Understanding your rights

You may be able to obtain free legal advice from a community legal centre or Legal Aid office in your state or territory. See ‘Legal and financial support ’ in ‘Accessing other sources of information and support’ below.

Accessing other sources of information and support

General support

  • 1800 RESPECT provides to access telephone or online counselling, information on safety planning, and information on how to support someone who is experiencing domestic and family violence. Call 1800 737 732.
  • Lifeline provides Australians experiencing a personal crisis with 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services. Call 13 11 14.
     

Local Support

Additional Counselling support

  • Relationships Australia provides support groups and counselling on relationships, and for abusive and abused partners. To be connected to the nearest Relationships Australia. Call 1300 364 277.
  • Aboriginal Family Domestic Violence Hotline. Victims Services has a dedicated contact line for Aboriginal victims of crime who would like information on victims’ rights, how to access counselling and financial assistance. Call 1800 019 123.
  • The Victims Access Line provides free counselling and financial assistance for victims of crime. Call 1800 633 063 or the Aboriginal contact line 1800 019 123.
     

Accommodation

  • NSW - Family & Community Services Link2home Domestic Violence Line. Call 1800 656 463.
     

Legal and Financial Support

Support for Men

  • Mensline Australia provides a free service offering national telephone and online support, information and referrals for men with family and relationship concerns. Call 1300 789 978.
     

Support for Children

  • Child Protection Helpline - 132 111
  • Kids Helpline. Free, private and confidential, telephone and online counselling service specifically for young people aged between 5 and 25 in Australia. Call 1800 551 800.
  • Australian Childhood Foundation. Counselling for children and young people affected by abuse. Call 1800 176 453 / 03 9874 3922.