Greater financial support for women experiencing family and domestic violence

The Coalition Government is supporting women at risk of domestic violence by boosting their access to finance when they most need it.

Good Shepherd Microfinance’s No Interest Loan Scheme will be boosted by $14.9 million to provide expanded access for up to 45,000 women. It will help women experiencing family and domestic violence access finance to assist with relocation, essential household items, rental bonds, or where appropriate, debt consolidation.

Minister for Women, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, said family and domestic violence can have a significant impact on women’s long-term economic security.

"Many women never recover from the financial setback of establishing a new home, and for many more women the daunting costs can discourage them from leaving an abusive relationship," Minister O’Dwyer said.

"These loans will help ensure women can access funding to support them and their families in their hour of need.

"The No Interest Loan Scheme will provide a safe and affordable alternative to high-cost finance options, such as ‘payday loans’ that can compound women’s financial distress, and will provide the essential help vulnerable women need to take control of their lives and live in safety."

Minister for Families and Social Services, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, said women experiencing domestic violence had a much higher risk of homelessness and financial stress, with 40 per cent of all people accessing Specialist Homelessness Services having experienced violence from a partner.

"Women receiving these loans will also have access to a specialist loan caseworker to help them regain control of their finances, and build their long term financial independence and confidence," Minister Fletcher said.

"The Coalition Government has zero tolerance for violence against women, delivering well in excess of $300 million to address women’s safety."

The Minister for Women will deliver today her inaugural Women’s Economic Security Statement, focused on practical measures to help open up more choices and build the financial security of Australian women.

More information on the No Interest Loan Scheme is available on the Good Shepherd Microfinance website.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au