Advocacy, Employment, Families, Housing

Strong uptake for employment service for women impacted by domestic violence

Written byChristine Tondorf
Published on18 Nov, 2021
Domestic Violence

RELEASED: November 19, 2021

On White Ribbon Day, Social Futures can announce that its new employment service for women impacted by domestic violence has had strong community uptake.

The Northern Rivers-based not-for-profit organisation, Social Futures, designed the employment service to help Gold Coast women reclaim their economic independence after leaving violent relationships. (The White Ribbon Day is a global campaign to end male violence against women.)

Social Futures has launched the Standing Strong program on the Gold Coast, which has one of the highest domestic violence rates in Australia*, but within weeks of opening 29 Gold Coast women enrolled in Standing Strong.

The program had hoped to support 60 women over 12 months – it now looks certain to exceed that number. Standing Strong is supported by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Office for Women.

Social Futures case worker Jennie Linton said she was delighted to say that women in the program are already finding jobs.

“This program supports women to make sustainable, long-term change to their lives and also to discover just how strong they are,” she said.

Ms Linton said women who have survived physically and emotionally abusive relationships often leave with diminished confidence.

“Standing Strong facilitates sessions encouraging women to acknowledge their strengths and most end up crying when realising just how much they have to offer employers and the broader community,” she said.

“We ask them to think about everyday skills they have like organisation and time management, because most have been running households and managing children, and they realise they do have skills and are very capable, and we know employers value those skills.”

Ms Linton said she would like to see the program delivered to other areas of Australia and even expanded on the Gold Coast as it filled a gap in services to women.

“Other domestic violence services offer employment supports but this is a specialised employment program tailored around the needs of women who have been impacted by family violence,” she said.

Social Futures CEO Tony Davies said while he was proud that Social Futures was delivering the Standing Strong program, it was important to remember on White Ribbon Day that men have a very important role to play in ending violence against women.

“It is vital that men look at what role they can play in ending violence against women, given the vast majority of domestic violence victims are female, and the majority of perpetrators are men,” Mr Davies said.

“On White Ribbon Day I will join other men wearing white ribbons and publicly promising that I will never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women or girls.”

White Ribbon Day began in Montreal, Canada in 1989.

Social Futures has been delivering an employment program to people in social housing for several years and has experience empowering people to return to the job market after experiencing hardship.

* Queensland Police recorded 3,175 domestic violence order breaches on the Gold Coast last year. That’s an almost 400 per cent increase over 10 years. The Gold Coast Southport Magistrates Court also had the highest number of DVO lodgements in Queensland in 2019 at 2,603.