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Issue 28 - February 2017

FOS member consultation on joint debts and family violence


FOS has begun a two-stage consultation with members to benchmark good industry practice in relation to joint debts in the context of family violence.

Stage one of the consultation commenced in January 2017. We have invited a small number of members, including banks and insurers, to share qualitative insights on their approach to joint debts in the context of family violence.

The initial consultation will focus on challenges member organisations are facing in relation to family violence and joint debts and any other policies or initiatives members are working on specifically in relation to joint debts.

Stage two will run from March to May 2017 and involves surveying a broader cross section of smaller FOS members to explore how industry is tackling the issue of family violence more generally.

This initiative is an undertaking of FOS’s Family Violence Working Group (FVWG), established in September 2016 to lead its response to recommendations made by the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence and to leverage FOS’s existing work in the areas of economic abuse, such as access to financial hardship programs, liability and guarantors.

Through the FVWG, FOS is also investigating ways to reduce existing and perceived barriers in its dispute resolution process in matters involving family violence, as well as promoting the consistent application of good industry standards and practices in the financial services sector.

FOS acknowledges that disputes involving family violence and economic abuse can be complex and is looking forward to continued work with industry and the consumer sector to ensure victims of family violence can easily access internal and external dispute resolution that delivers appropriate and sustainable solutions – reducing the likelihood of any further harm, such as through the inappropriate disclosure of personal details.

Following this consultation, findings will be shared with a broad range of stakeholders and inform a review of FOS’s approach to joint debts.

If you have any questions about our work in this area please contact the Chair of the FOS Family Violence Group, Anna Mandoki on (03) 9613 6327 or via email