The impossible choice between violence and poverty

Excerpt from ABC article by Maani Truu, full article in link below.

A ground-breaking report ‘The choice – violence or poverty: domestic violence and its consequences in Australia today’, authored by leading feminist researcher Anne Summers, has revealed 60 per cent of single mothers have experienced domestic violence at the hands of a previous partner, compared to 17 per cent of women more broadly.

The report, produced by the Paul Ramsay Foundation, focuses on previously unpublished data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Personal Safety Survey — the main data collection mechanism for violence in Australia — that illuminates the link between domestic violence and single motherhood.

One of the problems in the past is people have tended to write a little about a lot of things, but not look at anything in great detail… And what this report has tried to do, is gather detail that we’ve never seen before.

Report author Anne Summers, who discussed her findings on a special episode of Q+A on July 7, 2022

This required the creation of a specialised data set to compare the experiences of single mothers, defined as a woman without a partner living with children under 18, to the wider population. At the time of the survey in 2016, 311,000 respondents fit these criteria — and of this group, 185,700 reported having experienced physical or sexual violence by a partner since the age of 15

Of these women, 75 per cent said their former partner’s assaults, threats, or emotionally abusive behaviour were the main reason the relationship ended.

“That is just unbelievable,” Summers says. “Violence is causing women to become single mothers, very large numbers.”

Journalist and author Jess Hill, who wrote a book about domestic violence in Australia, says the statistics revealed in the report are “mind-blowing”.