Thursday, 9 Jul 2020

WATCH: 'Controlling' ATM highlights how financial abuse affects victims in Ireland

An ‘abusive’ ATM machine has been unveiled to highlight financial abuse in Ireland today.

The ‘Abusive Teller Machine’ was launched by Women’s Aid and AIB to show 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.

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