We all have a role to play in calling out economic harm

23 November 2021

If you see signs of economic harm among family and friends, it’s important to call it out. That’s a key message from the New Zealand Bankers’ Association, which is supporting the first Economic Harm Awareness Day in Aotearoa New Zealand organised by Good Shepherd NZ on Friday 26 November.

Economic harm can affect anyone, regardless of their personal circumstances or background and, like other like other forms of violence, it predominantly impacts women.

“Economic harm is a crime, and it’s often a hidden crime. We’d encourage anyone who sees signs of economic harm among family and friends to call it out. Talking about it is the first step to eliminating its impact,” says New Zealand Bankers’ Association chief executive Roger Beaumont.

“Economic harm can include the illegal or wrongful use of people’s money, their property and other assets. It’s particularly hurtful because it often involves people close to them taking advantage of their trust and vulnerability.

Examples of economic harm include:

  • Unauthorised taking of money or possessions
  • Coercing domestic partners or family members to take on or share debt
  • Using a home and assets without permission or contributing to costs
  • Scams that rely on establishing a relationship with people with the intention of exploiting their savings, assets or personal information.

“Banks play a part in helping to identify instances of economic harm. They train staff to recognise signs of potential economic harm while being sensitive to customers’ situations and wishes. Banks must strike a balance between being vigilant and following instructions from customers about what they want to do with their money.”

Good Shepherd NZ is a charitable non-government organisation. Good Shepherd provides links to economic harm support services here: https://goodshepherd.org.nz/economic-harm/.