This week, a Q+A exclusive – the cruel choice facing Australian women in abusive relationships: violence or poverty.
We’ll look at a groundbreaking study that lays bare the shocking extent of this crisis, and speak to lead researcher and trailblazing author Anne Summers, survivors, advocates and experts to hear what can be done to change the conversation.
Dr Summers’ new report reveals some staggering insights – that 60 per cent of single mothers have experienced domestic violence, and majority of them are single mothers because of that violence.
She says many of these women are forced to live in “policy-induced poverty” and says it’s time to change our thinking about what support we give to women who leave violent relationships.
The numbers are heartbreaking: In 2016, 275,000 women had suffered physical or sexual violence from a current partner.
Around 83,000 women left temporarily but returned for various reasons, including hoping their partner would change, but around 12,000 returned because they have no money or nowhere to go.
Of those who left and took on the responsibility of caring not only for themselves but their children as well, three-quarters left behind property or assets.
Sixty per cent found they had cashflow problems, including not being able to pay their rent or energy bills on time. Incredibly, more than 17,000 women went without meals.
A new National Plan to end violence against women and girls needs to be agreed, and Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth says the new 10-year blueprint is a priority for the Labor government.
Meanwhile, new Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke says legislating paid leave for domestic and family violence will be his first act when parliament resumes.
Joining Virginia Trioli on the panel:
Lead researcher and trailblazing author
Dr Anne Summers AO is a journalist, researcher, commentator and best-selling author of nine books, including the classic Damned Whores and God’s Police, first published in 1975, and still in print. Her most recent book Unfettered and Alive, a memoir, was published in 2018.
Labor Minister and survivor
Dr Anne Aly is the Labor MP for the Perth metropolitan seat of Cowan, which she first won in the 2016 election and retained in 2019.
Journalist and author
Jess Hill is an investigative journalist who has been writing and researching about domestic abuse since 2014.
Author and Survivor
Veronica Gorrie is a Gunai/Kurnai woman who lives and writes in Victoria. Black and Blue, a memoir of her childhood and the decade she spent in the police force, is her first book. It won the Victorian Premiers Prize for Literature in 2022
Anti-domestic violence campaigner
Arman Abrahimzadeh became an anti-domestic violence campaigner after losing his mother to domestic violence in March 2010.