"According to the ACTU, it costs an average $18,280 and takes 141 hours to leave an abusive relationships and find a new, safe place to live in Australia."
Next time you ask why doesn't she just leave, think of this statistic.
I can easily imagine what goes into that figure. The cost of a new rental bond, replacing stuff you have left behind, getting back forms of independence that have probably been taken from you like a car or updating your qualifications, and also paying the debts that you were inevitably forced to incur in your own name even though they were joint debts during the relationship.
The $18,000 quoted by ACTU includes rent ($3000 bond and four weeks rent). It is difficult to tell if they think $3,000 will cover bond and four weeks rent, but if $3,000 is just for bond that is probably a bit low for the Sydney property market. Out west in Penrith the median rental price is $420 a week according to this, and so a bond and four weeks rent would be $3,360.
Perhaps controversially I don't agree with employers having to pay the leave, (which is what I think this research and certainly these linked articles are advocating for). Employers already avoid women of child bearing age, passing laws doesn't change this problem it just makes the potential employer give a different reason for rejecting your application. Equally people still miss out on employment because of race, age and disability. Passing a law to make it illegal doesn't stop the practice it just makes people cover their tracks.
What women of a child bearing age need is equal employment opportunities, not laws that on the face of it help us but in practice make us a less attractive prospect.
If the government will pay the wage then sure, I am all for it, but I don't think that is what any government is proposing when they talk about passing legislation like this.
There are other issues when you leave a relationship. From the SBS article:
"Alison McDonald, the Policy and Program Manager at Domestic Violence Victoria, told SBS News many women firstly consider their financial capacity when contemplating leaving an abusive relationship.
“We know that when women and children leave a violent relationship that is actually the most dangerous time, this is when risk escalates and in fact it’s when you see most family-related homicides occur,” she said."
So what do these people need?
They need a lot of things, yes they need $18,000 and 140 hours, they also need emotional (pastoral) support, access to professionals, access to safe housing while they are in transition, they need real help with their physical and emotional safety, and they need everyone to stop making judgemental statements like why doesn't she "just" leave.
Leaving is tough. Leaving is dangerous. Leaving is expensive. There are no simple answers to this problem.
A good professional who is experienced in the area should understand this and help the victim to navigate the many decisions that they will have to make in coming months. If you need legal advice then you can make an appointment with Hamish Williams at our office, he understands that this is difficult and won't belittle you, or contact your ex unless you want him to.