Good Shepherd presents economic security index at Women's Policy Forum

16 August 2016

Policy participants from multiple sectors, including community, academic, private enterprise and government, have come together in Melbourne over the past two days to discuss how better policy can be created and implemented.

The fifth annual Power to Persuade symposium was held yesterday to examine how to keep policy ecosystems healthy, robust and sustainable. This was followed by today's Putting Women at the Centre: A Policy Forum, which cast a gender lens over policy design and implementation in key areas that impact women’s wellbeing. The forum searched for the threads that link the experiences of diverse groups of women and the patterns of disadvantage that impact them.

One of the key areas discussed at today’s forum was economic security. As facilitator of the "Power Behind Money" session, Good Shepherd's Development Lead for FinancialSecurity, Tanya Corrie, presented a new evaluation tool called the Economic Security for Survivors of Domestic and Family Violence Index. The tool is based on research Good Shepherd has carried out to define economic security for survivors of family violence in an Australian context. 

Ms Corrie is heading up the Economic Security for Survivors of Domestic and Family Violence research project and said the project has defined economic security as having sufficient resources to meet material needs so that women and their children can live with dignity, now and for the rest of their lives.

“We’ve identified key indicators that allow a family violence survivor’s level of economic security to be measured," Ms Corrie said. "These indicators include participation in the workforce or education, income levels, cost of living, housing stress, how reliant someone is on government support and whether this support is adequate, levels of financial literacy and inclusion, economic resources such as assets and savings, and superannuation.

“We’ve piloted the index in partnership with the Australia Institute and we’re currently seeking funding to gather more comprehensive, robust data that will help us fully develop it. When it's fully developed, the index will assist governments and community organisations to measure the effectiveness of family violence services, programs and campaigns in relation to survivors’ economic security."

The Economic Security for Survivors of Domestic and Family Violence research project was funded by the Con Irwin sub-fund, administered by the Victorian Women’s Trust and supported by The Australia Institute. Read the research report here.

The next stage of the project will require partnerships with academia, government and the community sector. Good Shepherd welcomes anyone who is interested in getting involved to contact Good Shepherd's Women's Research, Advocacy and Policy (WRAP) Centre via 03 9270 9700 or vicadmin@goodshep.org.au.

Good Shepherd’s WRAP Centre runs Power to Persuade in partnership with Gemma Carey of UNSW Canberra. Other Power to Persuade partners include VCOSS, St Vincent de Paul, Brotherhood of St Laurence and Swinburne University.

Putting Women at the Centre: A Policy Forum was organised by Women's Policy Action Tank, an initiative Good Shepherd and Power to Persuade. The forum was also supported by Jesuit Social Services, VCOSS, RMIT University and University of Melbourne’s School of Government. Follow the Women's Policy Action Tank on Twitter @PolicyforWomen