Financial Abuse in a Banking Context: Why and How Financial Institutions can Respond

Thumbnail Image
File version
Version of Record (VoR)
Scott, Ayesha
Griffith University Author(s)
Primary Supervisor
Other Supervisors
File type(s)

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is a global social problem that includes using coercive control strategies, including financial abuse, to manage and entrap an intimate partner. Financial abuse restricts or removes another person’s access to financial resources and their participation in financial decisions, forcing their financial dependence, or alternatively exploits their money and economic resources for the abuser’s gain. Banks have some stake in the prevention of and response to IPV, given their unique role in household finances and growing recognition an equitable society is one inclusive of consumers with vulnerabilities. Institutional practices may unwittingly enable abusive partners’ financial control as seemingly benign regulatory policy and tools of household money management exacerbate unequal power dynamics. To date, business ethicists have tended to take a broader view of banker professional responsibility, especially post-Global Financial Crisis. Little scholarship examines if, when and how a bank should respond to societal issues, such as IPV, traditionally outside their ‘remit’ of banking services. I extend existing understandings of ‘systemic harm’ to conceptualise the bank’s role in addressing economic harm in the context of IPV, viewing IPV and financial abuse through a consumer vulnerability lens to translate theory into practice. Two in-depth stories of financial abuse further illustrate the active role banks can and should take in combating financial abuse.

Journal Title
Journal of Business Ethics
Conference Title
Book Title
Thesis Type
Degree Program
Publisher link
Patent number
Grant identifier(s)
Rights Statement
© The Author(s) 2023. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Rights Statement
Item Access Status
Access the data
Related item(s)
Applied ethics
Persistent link to this record
Scott, A, Financial Abuse in a Banking Context: Why and How Financial Institutions can Respond, Journal of Business Ethics, 2023, 187 (4), pp. 679-694