Launched at Parliament House Canberra, the Penda App aims to break the cycle of domestic and family violence (DFV) by combining much-needed financial, personal safety and legal information with nationwide referrals.

Now available for download, Penda was developed to support victims of DFV, 90 per cent of whom experience financial abuse. For these women, the risk of poverty or financial hardship is one of the most commonly cited reasons for remaining in violent relationships.

Penda launch keynote speaker, domestic violence survivor, corporate consultant and Penda App Ambassador, Lisa McAdams said access to more information is critical for those impacted by DFV.

“I know from experience the devastating impact of financial abuse. It left a legacy that took more than a decade to overcome”, Ms McAdams said.

“Knowledge is power and the Penda App means the right information is accessible to more women.”

The free app was developed by WLSQ in collaboration with the Financial Rights Legal Centre, with funding from Financial Literacy Australia.

Australia’s largest credit union CUA is also supporting the rollout through a comprehensive national awareness and education campaign, as part of CUA’s broader commitment to assisting those impacted by DFV.

The app provides practical financial advice to assist with financial safety planning, information on how to access emergency money, crisis payments and emergency housing. Penda features a number of safety measures, including an optional passcode security setting and a lock-screen game accessed by shaking the device or tapping an icon.

WLSQ CEO Angela Lynch said financial security is a key element in ensuring women’s long term safety from violence.

“We thank Financial Literacy Australia for the support that made this vital tool possible, and CUA for funding the communications campaign that will make Penda accessible to the women who need it most,” Ms Lynch said

CUA’s Chief of Corporate Affairs and Community, Jo Kearney, said CUA was proud to support the Penda app and assist those impacted by DFV.

“CUA has identified domestic violence as a key area where we can provide meaningful support, through empowering women and promoting greater financial literacy and awareness,” Ms Kearney said.

“As part of this, we’re working together with local communities and our partners to connect other like-minded organisations who want to put an end to domestic violence. By bringing these organisations together, we’ll be able to collectively have a far greater impact in achieving positive social change.”

The launch of the Penda app at Parliament House was hosted by Member for Moreton, Graham Perrett and Senator Linda Reynolds CSC.

Speakers included Board Member of Financial Literacy Australia, Fiona Guthrie, WLSQ CEO, Angela Lynch and CUA Head of Corporate Affairs and Community, Jo Kearney.

Penda can be downloaded now from Google Play or the App Store.