What is domestic violence?

Domestic and family violence can happen to anyone, at any time, no matter their age, gender, sexual orientation, geographic location, cultural or religious beliefs, or economic status.

It's behaviour by a person towards a current or former family member that:

  • is physically or sexually abusive;
  • is emotionally or psychologically abusive;
  • is economically abusive (limiting access to money or impacting overall financial wellbeing);
  • is threatening or coercive;
  • controls or dominates in any other way, causing safety or wellbeing fear for family members or another person; or
  • causes a child to be exposed to the effects of other domestic and family violence behaviours.

Every person’s situation is unique and the right actions will depend on individual circumstances. We can help support with financial decisions.

How we can help.

Protecting your privacy

Privacy and confidentiality is critical to safety in any domestic and family violence situation and we’ll take care to protect personal information. If you wish to know more, please read our privacy policy.

Depending on your personal circumstances, we can help:

  • change online banking login details, password and PINs. Please note this may not be appropriate in circumstances where a violent family member is controlling your finances using your details, and any change may be a threat to your safety
  • arrange changes for anything we may need to send. For example, by nominating the mailing address of a trusted family member or PO Box. We can also arrange for any new debit or credit cards to be delivered for collection at a local branch.

Protecting your money

Depending on your personal circumstances, we can help:

  • remove or change online banking access. Note that this may not be appropriate in circumstances where this could cause a risk to personal safety
  • cancel any additional credit cards. A ‘primary’ credit cardholder is liable for any outstanding balances. We can cancel any additional cards to avoid more debt being incurred. Please note that when a change is made, we are required to notify the primary cardholder of the change
  • understand power of attorney arrangement, if you have one. If you have revoked an existing power of attorney or appointed a new attorney, we will update our records accordingly.

Domestic & family violence help.

  • In immediate danger? Call 111.
  • Call us on 0800 400 600 if you would like to speak to someone directly about your banking needs.
  • Access 24/7 counselling and support. Call 0508 744 633 Shine National Helpline.
  • Clicking on the green/grey and white icon on the bottom right side of our Westpac website will immediately get you in touch, through online chat, with specialists in family violence who can offer immediate advice and assistance. Absolute confidentiality will be maintained and will leave no digital footprint on your device.

General support

Shine National helpline – 0508 744 633

Shine wants to make sure that anyone in a physically or emotionally abusive relationship in New Zealand has someone to talk to and can get information and professional advice.

Women’s Refuge New Zealand – 0800 733 843 (crisis line)

Supports and helps women and children experiencing family violence.

Mental Health Family violence information line - 0800 456 450 9am-11pm every day

Provides information and support to anyone concerned for themselves or for someone else in relation to family harm.

National network of stopping violence - 03 391 0048

Established in 1988 as a national body, Te Kupenga Whakaoti Mahi Patunga – the National Network of Stopping Violence – is a bicultural membership-based organisation based on the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Gandhi Nivas - 0800 GANDHI  0800 426 344

The service was originally set up to address the problem of family harm in the Indian community but it now helps people of all ethnicities.


  • Women’s Refuge New Zealand – 0800 733 843

Legal and financial support

  • Citizens Advice Bureau – Phone 0800 367 222
  • Youth Law – (under 25 years old) – Phone 0800 884 529
  • Community law

Support for men

  • 0800 Hey Bro (439 279) - For men who are worried they will harm a loved one or family member, part of He Waka Tapu.

Maintaining or regaining control of your finances

We understand that any separation can be a time of financial difficulty and gaining financial self-sufficiency can often be the difference between staying in or leaving a violent situation. We can help build money management skills for free through our Managing Your Money workshops.

There are also New Zealand Community services who offer independent and free financial counselling services:

Good Shepherd budgeting and money management support for women, girls and families, including microloans and debt advocacy.

FinCap provide budgeting services with all the resources they need to help clients safely and confidentially.

Money Talks Helpline give free independent budgeting advice to individuals, family and whānau to help organise debt and plan for the future. They can also put you in touch with a local budgeting service and help with issues you're having with lenders:

Protecting your finances while you’re in the relationship

There are lots of financial things to consider when you are being harmed or controlled by your spouse or partner. Talk to a specialist family violence worker about your options and what steps you can take.

For many, setting up their own transaction account is an important step in their safety planning. You can use this account to save emergency money and, when it’s safe to do so, direct your salary and government payments to this account. Banks are obligated to send statements and letters regarding your accounts in the mail, so consider choosing to receive these online, or ask a trusted friend if you can nominate their address as your mailing address.

Understanding your rights

You may be able to obtain free legal advice from a community legal centre or Legal Aid office in your area.