Tuesday, 3 October 2023

CBA to launch police referral pilot in NSW to address technology-facilitated abuse

5 min read

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) announced the launch of a police referral pilot in NSW. The pilot will set new standards for how banks report technology-facilitated abuse to law enforcement.

Building on its use of artificial intelligence and other technologies to detect and block abuse in transaction descriptions, CBA is working with the NSW Police to develop a new streamlined process that will allow CBA to report abuse with the consent of the victim-survivor.

The pilot will commence by mid-September, providing a tailored escalation path to enable impacted customers in NSW to report their abuser easily and quickly. It is the latest initiative delivered by CommBank Next Chapter to provide a more comprehensive approach to address technology-facilitated abuse.

CBA implemented abusive transaction monitoring in June 2020, with close to 400,000 transactions blocked annually by the automatic filter that prevents offensive language from being used in transaction descriptions on the CommBank app and NetBank. This technology is augmented by an AI model that reviews transactions and annually detects around 1,500 perpetrators that send potentially abusive messages. These cases are then manually reviewed to determine the severity and the appropriate action required from CBA.

In the pilot, if CBA detects that a customer is receiving repeated abuse in transaction descriptions, the Next Chapter team will contact the receiving customer asking if they would like CBA to report the abuse on their behalf to NSW Police. Once the customer has consented to CBA reporting the issue to the police, CBA will initiate a report to the NSW Police. Victims of this kind of abuse can also contact CBA and ask it to report these instances of abuse on their behalf.

Angela Macmillan, group customer advocate, CBA, said: “The launch of this new pilot with NSW Police will help provide better support for customers experiencing abuse.

“Technology-facilitated abuse continues to be a serious problem, and this collaboration with NSW Police enables us to act,  not only in supporting victims but in the prevention of abuse. This is an initiative between the banking industry and law enforcement, and we hope this paves the way for more effective collaboration in the fight against domestic and financial abuse.”

Anna Bligh, CEO of the Australian Banking Association, said: “I congratulate CBA and the NSW Police on this collaboration which means critical information can now be shared when financial transactions are being used to threaten, harass or intimidate victims of domestic violence. This trial will provide valuable insights for police services and other banks about how to better combat the scourge of domestic violence.”

CBA has been committed to helping victim-survivors of financial abuse, perpetrated through domestic and family violence since 2015.

Re-disseminated by The Asian Banker

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