16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is here – the annual opportunity to take action against the violence that women and girls of all ages, backgrounds, abilities and sexualities experience simply because they are women and girls. It takes place from 25 November, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day.
Our focus for 16 Days for 2022 is Awareness to Accountability: Ending gender-based violence starts at home.
The home should be a place of safety and sanctuary – where you can rest, grow and thrive. But for women experiencing gender-based violence, the home is anything but.
Gender-based violence is the largest driver of homelessness for women and their children in Australia. In 2020-21, 42% of all Specialist Homelessness Services clients (like that of YWCA) experienced domestic and family violence. This number has been steadily increasing at an average of 4.2% per year since 2011-12.
“One of the biggest misconceptions about domestic and family violence in Australia is that once women are out of the relationship, everything is fine. We know this simply isn’t true.”YWCA Domestic Violence Team Member
The high costs of bond and setting up a new life, low rental vacancy rates and high rental prices mean many women are forced to make the impossible choice between staying in a violent relationship or facing poverty. Over 7,000 women each year return to violent partners because they can’t afford to live on their own. This high cost is often a barrier for women leaving in the first place – many stayed in a violent home because they couldn’t afford to leave.
And for those that do leave to seek safety, many move far away to feel safe. Some victim-survivors move cities, states or even countries to escape their violent partner. This can make it hard for them, and their children, to access existing community and social support networks.
Both housing and a life free from violence are human rights. You cannot end gender-based violence without addressing the key issue of housing. The link between housing and gender-based violence might not be obvious to a lot of people, so we’re here to help.
“Housing is essential to ending gender-based violence in a generation”National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children 22 – 32
Over the next 16 days, we’re going to take you on a journey to help you understand why we need to address housing to end gender-based violence, and then highlighting the politicians and governments that need to be held accountable to ending gender-based violence. Ending gender-based violence is something we can all play a part in, so we will also empower you with the knowledge and tools to advocate on the issue.
After all, ending gender-based violence starts at home.