Media Release: Women’s Aid & AIB Unveil the Abusive Teller Machine (ATM) To Highlight the Incidence of Financial Abuse in Ireland

29 Apr 2019

  • Women’s Aid & AIB Collaborate to Raise Awareness of Largely Hidden Abuse

Today, Monday 29th April 2019: Women’s Aid and AIB unveiled the ‘Abusive Teller Machine’ to highlight the incidence of financial abuse in Ireland today, bringing to life how financial abuse manifests across daily interactions in abusive relationships. According to Women’s Aid, financial abuse is a form of domestic violence in which the abuser uses money as a means of controlling their partner. By controlling a person’s access to financial resources, the abuser ensures that they will be forced to choose between staying in an abusive relationship or facing extreme poverty.

Filmed in AIB’s The Lab in Dundrum Shopping Centre in early April, the ‘Abusive Teller Machine’, a specially created ATM, was programmed with the kind of controlling questions all too common in financially abusive relationships. As customers attempted to access their money the questions became increasingly intrusive and intimidating before the customer was ultimately denied their money and the reason for their experience revealed.

Women's Aid is a leading national organisation that has been working in Ireland to stop domestic violence against women and children since 1974. As a large financial institution in Ireland, AIB wants to ensure that even the most at risk of its customers are cared for and is collaborating with Women’s Aid to address the lack of awareness around domestic financial abuse.

Speaking on the collaboration, Women’s Aid Director Margaret Martin was keen to highlight the prevalence of financial abuse throughout Irish society, “Earlier this month, we published our annual impact report which highlighted the level of contacts that we have received in the last 12 months; of the 19,000 contacts, there were over 1500 disclosures of financial abuse from all backgrounds and regions of the country.  We know this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

The collaboration will see Women’s Aid and AIB work on heightening awareness around financial abuse, with AIB providing training for staff on supporting and referring women who may be affected by financial abuse.

Full information on financial abuse is available at www.womensaid.ie and if you, or someone you know are affected by financial abuse, please contact the Women’s Aid national freephone helpline at 1800 341 900, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

To view the Abusive Teller Machine video content, please visit this link.

ENDS

For further information, please contact Wilson Hartnell

Elisabeth Fitzpatrick Elisabeth.fitzpatrick@ogilvy.com 086 6092571

Trudi McDonald Trudi.mcdonald@ogilvy.com 087 721 2021

 Notes for the Editor:

  • In 2018, there were over 19,000 contacts with Women’s Aid Direct Services. 
  • In 2018, Women’s Aid heard over 1500 disclosures of financial abuse within intimate relationships. (Women’s Aid Impact Report 2018)
  • With 1 in 10 women in Ireland experiencing financial abuse from their partners/exes at any given time, almost 200,000 women are in financially abusive relationships (European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights Agency Violence against Women: EU Wide Survey 2014)
  • When abusive partners control decisions about money, Irish women are 7 times more likely to experience severe domestic abuse. (National Crime Council Research 2005)

What is financial abuse?

Financial abuse is a form of domestic violence in which the abuser uses money as a means of controlling their partner. It is a tactic that an abuser uses to gain power and dominance over their partner and is designed to isolate a person into a state of complete financial dependence. By controlling a person’s access to financial resources, the abuser ensures that they will be forced to choose between staying in an abusive relationship or facing extreme poverty. Without money, options dwindle: no place to go, no means to get there, no way to provide for one’s own and one’s children’s basic needs. (Women’s Aid)

It includes:

  • Controlling the family finances
  • Not being allowed to have independent income
  • Having to account for all purchases including providing receipts and account for all spending
  • Not being allowed to buy personal items such as tampons and sanitary towels
  • Taking all the woman's bank cards and emptying joint accounts
  • Non-payment or erratic payment of child maintenance
  • Women's signatures being forged on cheques
  • Withholding money because women do not want to have sex
  • Denying money for food for women and the children and money to pay household bills