The federal 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 (NILS) will be boosted by $14.9 million to provide more access for up to 45,000 women. It will help women experiencing family and domestic violence to access finance to assist with relocation, essential household items, rental bonds, or where appropriate, debt consolidation.
Minister for Women Kelly O’Dwyer said this week family and domestic violence could 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,” Ms 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 Paul Fletcher 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,” Mr Fletcher said.
“The government has zero tolerance for violence against women, delivering well over $300 million to address women’s safety.”
More information on the No Interest Loan Scheme is available on the Good Shepherd Microfinance website.
Good Shepherd Microfinance released the following fast facts about NILS:
- 26,648 no interest loans worth $25 million provided in 2017-18
- Number of loans up 6.5% on previous year
- 66% of borrowers are women
- 40% of borrowers are single parents
- 23% of borrowers are Aboriginal
- 160 community partners offer NILS at 625 locations nationally.
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.