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Coliban Water joins the initiative to eliminate financial fraud

To increase the safety of customers and employees experiencing domestic violence, Coliban Water has joined the Respect & Protect initiative.

The Respect & Protect initiative is a public awareness campaign that aims to encourage businesses to promote and protect customers and communities from financial fraud – particularly in the banking, insurance, telecommunications and energy sectors, where perpetrators can exploit essential services to intimidate victims or collect debts on their behalf.

Lauren McLean, General Manager, Customer and Stakeholder Services at Coliban Water, said Coliban Water is committed to supporting efforts to end financial abuse as a form of violence in Australia.

“By joining the Respect & Protect programme, Coliban Water has updated its terms and conditions to make it clear that the provision of water and sanitation, which are essential services for everyone, is not a place for financial abuse.

“We know there are situations where perpetrators of domestic violence can use services like ours to threaten victims, use a system of coercive control or even take out debts on their behalf, making their financial situation worse,” Ms McLean said.

“This makes it difficult for victims and survivors to seek help or leave.

“By updating our terms and ensuring our team is trained and ready to help, we are discouraging perpetrators from using us and our services to continue their cycle of abuse.”

Ms McLean explained that financial abuse can significantly impact the financial independence and economic security of a victim or survivor.

“Unfortunately, these effects can persist long after the abusive partner leaves.

“We know it will take a community effort to make a difference and this is just one small step of many that our business and a growing number of people across Australia need to take.”

Ms McLean said participating in the Respect & Protect initiative was a natural next step after Coliban Water joined Thriving Communities, a not-for-profit organisation facilitating better cross-sector collaboration to support vulnerable customers.

“At this stage, Coliban Water is the only water company in Victoria to have signed up to Flequity Ventures’ Respect & Protect initiative, which aims to combat fraud and gender discrimination through better product design.

“In a sector that cares about the well-being of its customers, we know that we will be the first of many water companies to let potential perpetrators know that bullying and harassment is unacceptable.

“Together, as good corporate citizens and people, we have an opportunity to accelerate action through targeted action, education and awareness,” she said.

“We are sending a clear message that we will not tolerate this type of behaviour and will take further action to prevent similar incidents.”

Coliban Water’s updated Statement on Family Violence, which sets out its zero tolerance policy towards violence, is available at coliban.com.au and information on the Respect & Protect program can be found at www.respectandprotect.au.

Main photo: SewCreamStudio/Shutterstock.com