Collaborating with survivor support organisations

Survivor support organisations play a pivotal role in facilitating survivor access to financial services. Collaboration can help to streamline survivor account opening and ensure greater accessibility to financial services.

Collaborating with survivor support organisations

Key learnings

  • Understand the advantages of strengthening relationships with frontline charities.
  • Explore how to build strong relationships with survivor support organisations.
  • Learn where to find local survivor support services.
  • Know how to increase awareness of available survivor accounts and support.

Advantages of strengthening relationships with frontline charities

Collaboration between frontline survivor support organisations and banks is one of the most effective ways to build a strong and effective survivor financial empowerment programme. It helps to develop a stable and accessible pathway for survivors to navigate financial services.

Advantages include:

  • Increased survivor referrals for account opening due to streamlined referral pathways and communications.
  • Enhanced reliability and confidence from survivor support organisations when verifying survivor identities.
  • Countering survivor misinformation by raising awareness of available products and services through clear, two-way communication channels.
  • Helping to inform the development of survivor empowerment initiatives.
  • Greater ability to monitor and track key demographic data.
  • Strengthened support systems, where both banks and survivor support organisations can address issues and/or safeguarding concerns should they arise.
  • Partnering up to develop and deliver financial literacy sessions to survivors.

“I know that HSBC monitor [survivor accounts] for safeguarding purposes and we can flag from our side if we’ve got concerns as well.”

Avril Sharpe, Kalayaan

How to build strong referral pathways

To build strong referral partnerships and increase survivor referral rates, we have outlined three key steps that financial institutions and survivor support organisations can take.

1. Nominate “Survivor Banking Champions”

Financial institutions can benefit if they identify and train specific members of staff to become “Survivor Banking Champions.” These staff can provide a personal point of contact for survivors and survivor support organisations.

Suggestions for a “Survivor Banking Champion” could include:

  • Undertake trauma-informed training.
  • Be a senior member of branch staff, to create a more successful and impactful survivor support programme.
  • Have access to a dedicated survivor inclusion email address to ensure survivor support organisations and survivors can easily access support.

2. Partner with the FAST Survivor Inclusion Initiative

FAST provides template resources and referral processes to streamline and simplify survivor account opening for banks and survivor support organisations. This enables financial institutions to verify a survivor’s identity and satisfy traditional Know Your Customer (KYC) standards, helping to overcome the challenges faced by survivors who may have no official identity documents. They also provide training resources, basic financial literacy tools and periodic opportunities for peer learning.

3. Actively reach out to new referral partners

Another step is to actively seek new referral partners and signpost potential partners to the FAST Survivor Inclusion Initiative. This is especially important in the U.S., where there are a large number of small survivor support organisations that support smaller numbers of survivors. Without actively reaching out to partner with new survivor support organisations, banks may find that they do not receive enough referrals to create sustainable, long-term impact. This is also apparent in the U.K.

Onboarded survivor support organisations can provide the confidence that necessary due diligence has been conducted to overcome challenges regarding survivor identity documentation.

“We won’t accept any referrals outside of a programme that is part of FAST, only because we know that the due diligence has been done on the FAST side.”

US Financial Industry Employee, Participating in the FAST Survivor Inclusion Initiative

It is important to note that in the U.K., not all survivors will have been identified under the National Referral Mechanism and many will receive support outside the Modern Slavery Victim Care and Coordination Contract. Reviewing policies that may exclude survivors outside the National Referral Mechanism or who may not self-identify as a survivor may be necessary.

How to find local survivor support organisations

When starting a survivor financial empowerment programme or looking to grow existing programmes, it will be necessary to reach out to local survivor support organisations to develop new partnerships and increase survivor referrals. Below are some of the key directories financial institutions can use to find survivor support organisations to partner with.

U.K. modern slavery and human trafficking survivor services

In collaboration with the U.K. Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner and ATLEU, the Human Trafficking Foundation has created a map of survivor support services available in the U.K.

U.S. modern slavery and human trafficking survivor services

In the U.S., the National Human Trafficking Hotline has created the Referral Directory detailing over 650 survivor support organisations offering support for survivors, ranging from emergency help to long-term services.

Global modern slavery directory

The Polaris Global Modern Slavery Directory is an interactive database of 2,160 organisations and agencies which address the issue of modern slavery and human trafficking.

Tip: Select “Case Management” as a filter to exclude organisations not working directly with survivors.

Increasing awareness of available survivor services

Increasing awareness of existing services and ensuring that new programmes are being clearly signposted helps to improve access to financial services for survivors.

Support workers at survivor support organisations play a key role in disseminating information. However, they have limited capacity to navigate available services if they are not clearly advertised.

By working closely with survivor support organisations and creating a streamlined process of referrals and onboarding, financial institutions can help to relieve pressure on support workers and increase referrals.

Key considerations for financial institutions:

  • Create clear information packs and accessible resources on the products available to survivors, including clear guidance on accepted documentation.
  • Offer in-person and virtual talks for survivors and frontline staff to explain the services available and the account opening process.
  • Ensure that all customer-facing staff have undertaken trauma-informed training to provide a safe space for survivors.
  • Provide financial literacy support alongside all financial products accessible to survivors.

Summary: Important guidance

  1. Identifying key partners for survivor referrals and investing time in strengthening these partnerships through clear communications and support will help to improve survivor onboarding and collaboration.
  2. Appointing a senior-level “Survivor Banking Champion” with a designated email address for survivor enquiries will allow survivors and survivor support organisations to have a clear point of contact with the bank.
  3. As appropriate, it is important for financial institutions to actively seek new survivor support organisations to partner with and signpost potential referral partners to the FAST Survivor Inclusion Initiative.
  4. Consider exploring partnerships that support survivors who have not entered the NRM (in the U.K.) or who do not identify as survivors but may be vulnerable.

Where to next?



1728 1017 TRIBE Survivor Financial Empowerment Hub
Survivor financial empowerment hub

Survivor financial empowerment hub

1728 785 TRIBE Survivor Financial Empowerment Hub
Employee training & protecting vulnerable customers

Employee training & protecting vulnerable customers

2560 1707 TRIBE Survivor Financial Empowerment Hub
2560 1709 TRIBE Survivor Financial Empowerment Hub
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