Hidden homelessness: women escaping violence in Australia
Homelessness amongst women and their children is rising and the number one reason why women become homeless in Australia is domestic violence. But the face of female homelessness isn’t the traditional vagabond on the street. Homeless women inhabit caravans, shelters, and couches of friends and relatives in a silent epidemic.
The numbers speak for themselves. On the night of the 2011 Australian Census, of all those experiencing homelessness:
- 44% were women;
- 32% of those sleeping rough were women;
- 51% of people living in shelters were women;
- 27% were under 18;
- 17% were children;
- 17,845 were children under 12; and
- 402 children under 12 were sleeping rough.
Every year, 1 in 42 women will access a specialised homelessness support service. According to an Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2012 report, of all the homeless people who received support from a specialised service:
- 23% attributed their homelessness to domestic violence;
- 59% were women and 55% of these cited domestic violence as the reason for their homelessness; and,
- 16% were aged between 0 and 10.
Since 1997, Canberra's Karinya House has provided a transitional home for mummas in crisis. Karinya means 'peaceful house' and the wonderful women who run it provide supported accommodation, temporary housing, and outreach services to mummas who need it most. We have recently expanded our shipping services to the UK, where Solace Women’s Aid have been providing similar services for over 40 years.
According to Karinya House: "All women have the right to bring their child into the world, in a safe environment" and this resonates with Sage&Luna’s vision and puts into words the driving force behind our charity choices.
Just like Karinya House and Solace Women’s Aid, Sage&Luna is passionate about supporting women. So the decision to donate almost 200 bags to these wonderful women’s shelters was easy, as it perfectly aligned with our company vision.
Whether it be maintaining her personal style after she becomes a mother or finding her independence after fleeing domestic violence, we want to help every woman to have the freedom to make decisions about her own life.
A leather nappy bag might seem inconsequential for a woman who has faced mental, physical, and emotional abuse.
It's not going to take away her pain.
It won't make the process easier for her.
It's not going to remove society's expectation that she should always be strong and put her children first.
It won't prevent her from fearing for the safety of her children and herself for many many years.
But when she looks at our bag, I hope she knows that someone was thinking of her. Not as a mother, not as a victim, but as an independent woman who deserves a little bit of luxury now and then. God knows, she's earned it.If you want to support women in their time of need you can donate to Karinya House or in the UK you can donate to Solace Women’s Aid.