New code for financial abuse victims launched

Young adult female with cancer hugging her daughterA new Financial Abuse Code of Practice will be rolled out across the financial services industry over the next 12 months to support victims of financial abuse.

The code aims to bring increased awareness and better understanding of what abuse looks like for firms, colleagues, victims, potential victims and their families, and ensure more consistency in the support available for those who need it.

The code will take forward recommendations from the Financial Services Vulnerability Taskforce which was launched in September 2016.

Financial abuse can take a variety of different forms within relationships, whether by intimate partners, family members or carers and may manifest itself as financial control, dependency, exploitation or sabotage.

The Financial Abuse Code of Practice considers financial abuse scenarios including those within the context of partner relationships and domestic abuse, but also the older population as a particularly relevant demographic at risk.

The code of practice has been developed with input from representatives from charities, victim support groups and government departments, alongside UK Finance’s financial abuse project group and consumer advisory group.

Over the next 12 months, 11 of the largest high street firms have committed to implementing the voluntary code with more firms expected to follow, raising awareness, training colleagues and introducing other initiatives to help victims regain more control over their finances.

UK Finance managing director of personal finance Eric Leenders says: “Financial abuse does not discriminate – it can happen to anyone and whether you or a person you know is a victim of financial abuse, taking those first steps to seek help is very brave. The financial services industry can play a key role in helping combat financial abuse, offering support to victims to help them regain control of their money.

“This new voluntary code provides further guidance for banks and building societies and, once rolled-out, will help raise awareness amongst staff so that victims of financial abuse can be confident that they will be treated sympathetically and positively in these particularly difficult circumstances.”

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