6 September 2021
As the National Summit on Women’s Safety begins today, ACOSS and the National Council of Single Mothers and their Children have released an overview of social security policies that need to be fixed to support the safety of women and their children, delivering economic security in order to meet the essentials of life.
CEO of the Australian Council of Social Service, Cassandra Goldie, said:
“Economic security is a crucial part of delivering women’s safety, and urgent action is needed. Right now, we know that the inadequacy of our social security system is trapping women in violent homes and threatening workplaces.
“We need to have a decent social safety net in place that ensures women can escape danger while knowing they will be able to keep a roof over their head, food on the table and look after their children. We need to raise the rate of key social security payments to protect women from poverty and we need to change the rules of social security so that they don’t operate to make life even harder and riskier for women when they seek help.
CEO of the National Council of Single Mothers and their Children, Terese Edwards, said the majority of people receiving social security were women:
“The overwhelming experience of women relying on social security to get by is it forces them and their children into deep and crushing poverty. Most women live in daily fear of not being able to feed themselves and their children properly, as well as losing their home. One in three single parent families, which are overwhelmingly headed up by women, live in poverty in our wealthy country.
“Not only does our social security system prevent women from being able to cover the basics; policies like ParentsNext and the cashless debit card serve to demean, punish and control aspects of a woman’s life, and in some respects, constitute a form of abuse and control.
“It’s clear violence against women and their children is an urgent and shameful national crisis and we know a key part of the solution is ensuring women are not denied the resources and autonomy they need to escape danger and rebuild their lives.”