Posted in News
CEO Update: Impact of Intimate Partner Violence on Economic Security
Tuesday, 13th September 2016
By Heather Nancarrow
The United Nations Association of Australia hosted a great one day national forum on the economic empowerment of women and girls in Melbourne last week. Thanks to Dr Wendy O’Brien, National Coordinator, UNAA Human Rights Program, for inviting me to give the opening address (pictured centre right). I was in very good company for the opening session, which also included Mary Crooks AO, Victorian Women’s Trust and Dorinda Cox, who wears many hats but on this occasion was representing the Women’s Council for Family and Domestic Violence Services, WA (pictured centre left and far right).
The focus of my talk was, of course, the impact of intimate partner violence on women’s and children’s’ economic security. Economic security is important to enable women to escape violent relationships, as many have observed, but it is more than that; women are as entitled as men to economic security and independence … full stop!
I spoke about the pay gap, the wealth gap and the job gap, recognising that diversity among women means that we need to look beyond the corporate world, as important as that is, to ensue women in other areas (trades and sport for example) are treated equally and those that suffer discrimination and struggle to get into jobs at all are supported to overcome those barriers.
Entitlement was also a strong theme in Mary’s address, which included touch of wry humour – she asked “why would we maintain the status quo, if the status is nothing to quo about?” In support of her themes, Mary drew on the stories of women who have gone before us in efforts toward achieving an equal place in political, social and economic life.
Dorinda, a Noongar woman from Western Australia, drew on her vast experience in the violence against women and business sector and brought a global perspective to the discussion. Dorinda was the first Indigenous Australian woman to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Women and the Economy Forum. She was part of the Australian delegation, led by Natasha Stott Despoja AM, Ambassador for Women and Girls, at the Forum held in Lima, Peru in June. Dorinda spoke of the value of culture and as she had done in Peru, she presented our hosts with a message stick (pictured above). It was an uplifting morning and I’m sorry I wasn’t able to spend the whole day at the Forum. Well done to Wendy and her team.
ANROWS Submission to South Australian Government
Well done, too, the South Australian Government, on its recent consultation on law and justice responses to domestic violence in that state. ANROWS made a brief evidence-based submission, addressing most of the eight topics. The topics included a Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, expiry dates on intervention orders, data collection, video evidence in court, drug and alcohol treatment, and housing and homelessness service priorities. Our submission is available as a free PDF on our website.
National Domestic and Family Violence Bench Book
Congratulations to Professor Heather Douglas, Project Coordinator, and all involved, on the publication of the National Domestic and Family Violence Bench Book. Many experts and stakeholders across the country contributed to the Bench Book in various ways, including through a Project Advisory Group, which included myself and ANROWS’s Research Program Director, Dr Mayet Costello. The Benchbook implements recommendation 31.2 of the Australian and New South Wales Law Reform Commissions’ (2010) joint report Family Violence – A National Legal Response. The Bench Book is a comprehensive, yet succinct and easy to navigate resource, which will be very useful to practitioners and policy-developers as well as its primary audience, judicial officers.
Photo taken at the United Nations Association of Australia National Forum: Economic Empowerment of Women and Girls (from left to right): Heather Nancarrow; Mary Crooks AO; Wendy O’Brien; and Dorinda Cox.