At-risk women living in SA will be given access to free financial counselling as part of a new government-backed program to reduce financial abuse.
SA-based charity the Zahra Foundation, which supports women suffering financial and domestic abuse, has received a $150,000 commitment from the SA state government to provide free financial counselling to female domestic violence victims in South Australia.
The program, which covers Adelaide’s north and south, Gawler, Barossa, Clare and the Limestone Coast, aims to reduce financial abuse by supporting at-risk women in achieving financial independence.
The program will include information sessions, one-on-one financial counselling sessions and tips on money management when separating from a partner.
According to the Minister for Human Services, Michelle Lensink, one of the biggest barriers to women leaving abusive relationships is fear of financial hardship and poverty.
She said: “[T]his new financial counselling program will help equip at-risk South Australians with information to make informed decisions.
“This new program will teach women how to plan for a safe move into private rental accommodation, how to track expenses and set budgets.”
Minister Lensink said the Marshall Liberal government remained committed to ending violence against women and will continue to invest in programs to support South Australians experiencing, or at risk of, violence.
“Now more than ever, we need to support and empower women towards economic independence so they can secure long-term safety free from domestic and family violence and build a hopeful future for themselves and their children,” Ms Lensink concluded.
Speaking of the commitment, Zahra Foundation general manager Gemma Burdon said: “We have seen an increase in enquiries for our programs and services during 2020.
“Now more than ever, we need to support and empower women towards economic independence so they can secure long-term safety free from domestic and family violence and build a hopeful future for themselves and their children.”
SA’s Assistant Minister for Domestic and Family Violence Prevention, Carolyn Power, welcomed the new program, stating: “Zahra Foundation provide[s] women [with] important assistance to get back up on their feet, and know they have support and can gain the skills to achieve financial independence.
“It takes a whole community to combat domestic and family violence, and the work that organisations like Zahra Foundation undertake are important in addressing the impacts violence has on the lives of women.”
The Zahra Foundation’s program comes amid a slew of other support programs offered to South Australians this year, with NAB recently announcing a disaster relief package for customers affected by the recent bushfires in Lucindale, South Australia.
If you are suffering from abuse, depression or suicidal thoughts, or you’re worried about someone else and feel that professional support is needed, contact your local doctor or one of the 24/7 crisis agencies below:
1800RESPECT: 1800 737 732
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
beyondblue: 1300 22 4636
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