Lloyds Banking Group’s Domestic and Financial Abuse Helpline

“Thank you so much for doing the Lloyds referral.  They were as helpful as we hoped, and more! They've refunded all the overdraft charges I've had on my account because they can see that I extended my overdraft to pay off the joint account overdraft so I could close it AND they've put a charge freeze on my account and the loan.  So the loan won't get any interest and I won't get charged for not making repayments. So it gives me breathing space to get out of my overdraft and pay off other stuff that needs sorting out.  And a charge suppression on using my account overdraft for 6 months.  I also had a call from the Lloyds Fraud Team and they're going to look at seeing what they can do about the loan.  I'm amazed, and so grateful.  Not having to pay the loan for a few months is going to make such a huge difference!  And £160 of overdraft charges is already in my account"

These are the words of a survivor supported by one of our grant holders. They had been referred into Lloyds Banking Group’s specialist support team that helps customers who experience domestic abuse. It goes to show what can be achieved when we bring together the expertise of local specialist charities with colleagues to improve customer outcomes.

 

Over the last four years, the Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales has been working with Lloyds Banking Group’s Customer Vulnerability Team to address key financial issues faced by the clients supported by many of the charities we fund. The Foundation is working to tackle domestic abuse, and the Group is committed to supporting victims, by creating a culture where customers and colleagues feel safe talking about it. We believe victims, and provide and signpost support at the right time. We fund nearly 100 specialist charities across England and Wales tackling abuse and these charities have shared their experience to help shape the Group’s approach. These charities shared the financial challenges survivors face in leaving abusive relationships and the difficulty in separating finances to enable survivors to move on and rebuild their lives.

 

This intel helped the Customer Vulnerability Team to look at how they could respond. The team developed approaches that we tested back with the charities we fund. Could they work? What would be the impact? What was still missing?

 

For the small and specialist charities working directly with survivors, this was a fantastic opportunity to share their expertise with a large organisation to address significant challenges survivors face. For Lloyds Banking Group, the Team was able to fully understand this and how policy and practice could better meet customers’ needs. They could test back ideas with experts to help shape where to put investment and connect with local organisations right across England and Wales.

 

This is so important because the impacts of domestic abuse are widespread and long lasting. Specialist charities provide incredible support in difficult situations – but they also need policy and practice to improve if survivors are going to be supported in the best possible way and if domestic abuse is going to be tackled effectively.

 

As the Domestic Abuse Bill continues its passage through parliament, there are even more opportunities to improve our combined response. We’ve been providing evidence to strengthen the Bill throughout this process, drawing on the expertise of the charities we fund and the challenges we know they, and their clients face. The horrifying rise in domestic abuse during the lockdown has again shone a spotlight on the scale of this abhorrent crime. We’ve come a long way in four years, but we’re still looking at what more can be done and how more charities can refer into Lloyds Banking Group’s specialist support team – we won’t stop until the abuse stops.