NOW

COAG Summit To Explore How Technology Is Changing The Nature Of Domestic Violence

Turnbull is delivering on his promise to host a national summit.

26/10/2016 4:19 PM AEDT | Updated 26/10/2016 7:54 PM AEDT
NEW! HIGHLIGHT AND SHARE
Highlight text to share via Facebook and Twitter
Getty Images
Business leaders, domestic violence experts and politicians will discuss the challenges in reducing domestic violence across the country.

Domestic violence has been around for millennia, but new technologies are allowing the abuse to reach far beyond the physical boundaries of the home, into victims' conversations, Internet search history and even their bank accounts.

Abuse through technology will be a key issue discussed at the national summit on reducing violence against women and children in Brisbane on Thursday.

Politicians will be joined by community leaders, domestic violence experts and business leaders at the summit, which will run over two days to review progress and discuss the best strategies to reduce family violence across the country.

Federal, state and territory governments agreed to prioritise reducing family violence at a COAG meeting in December last year.

Commonwealth Bank's Chair of Domestic Violence Working Group, Catherine Fitzpatrick, said understanding how abuse can be facilitated using technology will enable the bank to help customers avoid financial abuse and control through online banking.

"We know we're not the experts to assist in a crisis but as a private organisation we have a critical role to play for our employees, our customers and more broadly in the community," Fitzpatrick told The Huffington Post Australia.

"As a company involved in technology, through our app and others, are there things we can be doing to help other people better manage their money and, in their own relationships, maintain financial independence?"

FitzPatrick is a New South Wales government delegate who will be sitting at the summit's organisational best practice and innovation roundtable.

We know that financial abuse and financial control is a big contributing factor to women not being able to leave violent relationships so if we can give all children the tools to being financially independent, they can make their own choices about their life going forwardCatherine Fitzpatrick

Along with technology-facilitated abuse, a number of other key issues will be discussed at the summit. These include domestic violence in Indigenous communities, family violence in the court system and the effect of domestic violence on children.

Last week, the Commonwealth Bank adapted a financial education program implemented into schools to help young boys and girls understand how to manage their finances while also championing gender equality.

"All of this is championed in gender equality because we know that domestic violence is a product of a lack of respect for women primarily, although it doesn't discriminate," Fitzpatrick said.

The program was reviewed by Our Watch and recommendations were implemented to ensure it helped address gender equality and reduce domestic violence, discussing issues like the pay gap and challenging gender stereotypes.

The bank has invested $50 million over three years towards the program, called Start Smart, which will reach half a million Australians in primary and secondary schools as well as TAFE. Any school or parent can request to book a session.

"We know that financial abuse and financial control is a big contributing factor to women not being able to leave violent relationships, so if we can give all children the tools to being financially independent, they can make their own choices about their life going forward," Fitspatrick told HuffPost Australia.

The bank has also increased its domestic violence leave from five days to ten days for employees and is reviewing procedures to handle situations where customers disclose being in abusive relationships.

"We want to be part of a movement," Fitzpatrick said.

The summit is being co-hosted by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

More On This Topic

Advertisement
Advertisement