Domestic violence also has an economic penalty – we need to tackle it – The Conversation

Extract from an article by Jane Bullen and Natasha Cortis

While Australia has a national conversation on domestic violence, some of the harms of this violence remain in the shadows. The ways violence degrades women’s financial status and access to economic resources are particularly poorly recognised.

Our research provides evidence for what many domestic violence practitioners have observed for decades: violence and financial abuse contribute to extreme levels of financial hardship and risks of poverty.

These economic effects resonate throughout women’s lives and across generations. Governments, businesses, non-government organisations and others can do much more to prevent and tackle them.

Domestic violence is an economic harm

Using data from the Journeys Home survey, we examined low-income women’s experiences of violence, housing, work and financial wellbeing between 2012 and 2014.

Violence affects women across socioeconomic circumstances. But these women’s histories of social security receipt and housing stress made it especially difficult to rebound from the financial loss associated with partner violence. Australia’s social safety net is not doing nearly enough to mitigate the economic harms of violence.

Among the 765 women in the study, those subject to partner violence fared much worse on financial hardship measures than others. For example, the women exposed to violence were:

  • more likely to go without food due to lack of money;
  • more likely to have difficulty paying utilities bills; and
  • more likely to require material assistance from welfare agencies, which were often poorly equipped to respond.

The financial impacts of violence were much worse for women subject to prolonged or repeated violence. This underlines the importance of early response.

By 2014, the women who had reported partner violence more than once in the survey period were under extreme financial strain. They were also less likely to be in paid employment. This made it difficult to carve pathways out of violent relationships…(continues)

SOURCE: Jane Bullen and Natasha Cortis, “Domestic violence also has an economic penalty – we need to tackle it”, The Conversation, 29 Nov 2016

Link to full article

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