A study by the Australian Bureau of Statistics also found one in four women and one in six men have suffered emotional abuse by a partner.
"Increasingly many financial institutions are finding payment text fields on banking platforms are being used to stalk, harass or threaten some victims. The perpetrators use this method to avoid detection and police scrutiny.”
As advancements in digital payments technology continue to evolve, many financial institutions have noticed small transactions are being used to send abusive messages in payment transaction data.
ANZ is a founding member of the AUSTRAC-led Fintel Alliance, formed in 2017 to strengthen the finance industry’s capability to tackle such issues and to better support police investigations.
The alliance has brought industry parties together and that collaboration has been successful at detecting and disrupting serious crimes including child sexual exploitation, illegal wildlife trafficking and money laundering through ATMs.
In 2021 the Fintel Alliance turned its attention to abuse and domestic violence threats facilitated through financial transactions.
Small transactions, big insights
Increasingly many financial institutions are finding payment text fields on banking platforms are being used to stalk, harass or threaten some victims. The perpetrators use this method to avoid detection and police scrutiny.
At ANZ we have been working hard to play a role in identifying and investigating this abusive behaviour. It is some of our most vulnerable customers who are subject to this type of harassment and abuse.
Working with AUSTRAC, industry and law enforcement, our Financial Crime team used abusive payments indicators published in an AUSTRAC financial crime guide to develop a new way to identify this abuse.
Our team deployed a complex algorithm that helps identify threats of domestic violence in payment messages. Once identified, these threats can be investigated and in some cases reported to the relevant authorities.
In some instances the work of our Financial Crime team has identified cases involving an imminent threat to life. In those high-risk cases the team escalated the concerns to ensure the relevant authorities were able to take appropriate action in time.