Financial Abuse support program designed by people with lived experience

For more than five years, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has been committed to working in partnership with community organisations, experts, and academics to address domestic and family violence (DFV). CBA wanted to find solutions that would help not only their customers, but also the wider community. 

Financial Abuse support program designed by people with lived experience

In July 2020, CBA extended and expanded their commitment by launching the Next Chapter program to address financial abuse and provide support for their customers and communities.

As part of the Next Chapter program, CBA partnered with Good Shepherd to launch a 14-week co-design project to better understand the impact of financial abuse and explore potential solutions. This project led to the launch of the Financial Independence Hub (Hub).

“One of the key strengths of the Financial Independence Hub is it has been co-designed with people who have lived experience of financial abuse and with experts from community organisations.” Claire Dawson, CBA

Research and feedback from people with lived experience makes it clear that those impacted by financial abuse require ongoing tailored support to rebuild their long-term financial independence.  The Financial Independence Hub, sponsored by CBA and delivered by Good Shepherd, has been designed to help those in recovery who are still experiencing the long-term effects of financial abuse – no matter who they bank with.  The Hub provides free, tailored one-on-one financial coaching, referrals to support services, and if appropriate, access to financial solutions like interest-free loans.

“People are the experts in their own experience, so when designing a service it is really important to listen to the people you are hoping to support and ideally, work with them from the very beginning to ensure you are setting up for success.” Lauren Thomas, Good Shepherd

The first 12 months of the Hub will go through four ‘Test and Learn’ cycles providing support to a limited number of participants and gathering feedback to ensure the Hub recognises and adequately addresses their needs.  The four cycles focus on:

  • Cycle One: online service delivery, welcome conversation and initial coaching
  • Cycle Two: loans and ongoing coaching
  • Cycle Three: full experience
  • Cycle Four: operational and expansion readiness

CBA and Good Shepherd would like to acknowledge the contribution of all advocates with lived experience who shared their personal insights to inform the development of the Financial Independence Hub.

What next?

Good Shepherd is so proud to be a part of this initiative and once the Test and Learn cycles are complete they are looking forward to expanding Financial Independence Hub services across Australia.

CBA’s Next Chapter program will continue to support people impacted by financial abuse to achieve long-term financial independence. In addition to sponsoring the Hub, CBA has established a Community Wellbeing team within the bank to assist customers with specialised trauma-informed support, direct financial assistance, safe banking and referrals to external DFV experts and counsellors.  CBA is also working with academics and experts to conduct independent research that will fill the gaps in our knowledge of financial abuse, raise awareness of the issue and inform effective responses and support.


Share this Post: