Domestic violence, social security and the couple rule
The couple rule is used to determine if a social security applicant is separated and/or single or a member of a couple. If considered a member of a couple, her and her perpetrator's income and assets are assessed jointly.
This rule ties women’s access to social security payment to the income and assets of their perpetrator. It uses reports of domestic violence as evidence of a committed relationship and evidence of domestic violence is interpreted as evidence for a relationship.
This project detailed the dynamic between domestic violence, social security payment, and the couple rule. It examined the pre-existing data set of Administrative Appeal Tribunal decisions of couple rule matters and compared this to decisions made in New Zealand (where domestic violence is interpreted as evidence of no relationship). These data sources provide rich, reliable and non-invasive qualitative detail of social security decision making.
Dr Lyndal Sleep, Griffith University (Early Career Researcher)
Prof Heather Douglas, University of Queensland
Ms Zoe Rathus, Griffith University
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse women, older women, women with disability, women who are, or have been, incarcerated, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex women and women who live in rural and remote areas (as a focus).
Funded by Australian Commonwealth, state and territory governments under ANROWS’s 2017 core grant round.
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PO Box Q389, Queen Victoria Building NSW 1230