RLC launches Financial Abuse Service NSW
In December, Redfern Legal Centre (RLC) teamed up with leading financial and legal service providers to launch the first state-wide service in New South Wales addressing financial abuse in intimate partner relationships.
The Financial Abuse Service NSW was established in response to high levels of unmet legal need identified through RLC’s Credit and Debt and Domestic Violence practices.
“Financial abuse is an insidious form of domestic abuse where a person uses money to exert power and control over their partner,” RLC’s Financial Abuse Service NSW Team Leader, Laura Bianchi said.
“Financial abuse can affect anyone. Many people don’t even realise they are being manipulated until the relationship breaks down and they are left homeless, with tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of debt,” Ms Bianchi said.
The Financial Abuse Service NSW will leverage relationships with the corporate sector to assist people in crisis through free legal support and help guide government and industry responses to this widespread but under-reported form of domestic violence.
American Express, PwC Australia, Ashurst and King & Wood Mallesons will provide support for the legal service arm of the service, with Ecstra Foundation providing support for statewide law reform, advocacy and capacity development work. The service is also supported by Commonwealth Government funding administered by Legal Aid NSW under the Community Legal Services Program.
“We are extremely excited to be partnering with such forward-thinking and innovative corporations and government to be delivering this life-saving service,” RLC CEO Joanna Shulman said.
- The Hon Christian Porter MP, Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations said, “This service is going to enhance the physical and economic security for survivors of family violence. We commend the Redfern Legal Centre for the creation of the financial abuse service, and I'm looking forward to the improved outcomes this new service can deliver for vulnerable Australians.”
- Caroline Stewart, CEO, Ecstra Foundation said, “Ecstra Foundation is really committed to building the financial capability of all Australians within a fair. financial system. However, we know that financial issues are really the root cause of so many other legal and social issues that people, individuals and communities face. So this is why Ecstra Foundation is partnering in a multi-year partnership with Redfern Legal Centre.”
- Julian Charters, Vice President & Senior Counsel, American Express said, “We know the financial system inside and out, and we can help navigate that for Redfern Legal Centre and victims of financial abuse. Additionally, we can help lobby for change in areas where the regulatory and legal framework of the financial system are falling short.”
- Dan Creasey, Head of Pro Bono & Community Impact, King & Wood Mallesons said, “The strategic vision for us is to reduce inequality and to reduce poverty, particularly amongst children and young people. There is obviously a very strong connection between financial abuse, domestic violence and poverty, so we’re really interested to be involved.”
- Lynda Reid, Director, Legal, PwC Australia said, “It really fits beautifully within PwC’s approach of trying to tackle the homelessness issue. And there were just lots of synergies to bring our legal pro bono practice into the picture.”
- Ali French, Pro Bono Lawyer at Ashurst said, “Working at the service has given me a huge insight into the disturbing impact of intimate partner violence and financial abuse in our community. I am in awe of the resilience of the clients we work with and inspired by the lawyers at Redfern Legal Centre who work every day to support some of the most vulnerable members of our community.”