Guardian Australia’s Fair Go? spokespeople pose a question and policy researchers from the University of Sydney’s policy lab find the answer.
Fair Go? spokeswoman: Emily Lightfoot, of Albury, New South Wales, is a single mother who currently receives Newstart allowance.
Wants to know: Does Centrelink support single mothers exiting violent relationships?
Sydney Policy Lab says: We found out that people with complex needs typically encounter more problems with accessing the support they need, and that while access to support payments for people trying to exit violent relationships may be incrementally improving, there are still strong roadblocks to accessing the payments which can prevent parents from leaving violent relationships.
What are the factors affecting people leaving violent relationships?
Family and domestic violence can include physical violence, sexual assault, financial abuse, emotional abuse, stalking, kidnapping, serious neglect, damage to property, causing injury to an animal, verbal abuse, cultural abuse and exposing children to these behaviours. Women in particular are at risk of experiencing domestic or family violence. On average, one in three Australian women have experienced physical violence since they were 15; one in four women have experienced emotional abuse from a current or former partner; and one woman is murdered each week by her current or former partner. Violence against women is the key driver of homelessness; the health, administration and social welfare impacts cost approximately $21.7bn every year. Advocacy organisation Our Watch states that “Violence against women and their children takes a profound and long-term toll on women and children’s health and wellbeing, on families and communities, and on society as a whole.”
A range of complex factors affect whether people are able to leave violent relationships. This includes fear of the violence escalating when they leave, lack of support from family or friends, and not having enough money or employment. In 2017, the ACTU estimated that “leaving a violent relationship takes on average $18,000 and 141 hours in terms of finding new accommodation, legal fees and finding the necessary financial and emotional supports”…
SOURCE: Mike Bowers. “Ask a policy expert: does Centrelink support Single mothers exiting Violent relationships?.” The Guardian, 16 May 2019.
Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia