Today is International Women’s Day! It is a day where I stop to think are things getting better in the area of domestic violence? You know I would love to say yes, but if I am honest I would say the answer is a resounding no!

We need to keep the conversation going

There has been more conversation around domestic violence in the media, but even that has is fading. I am worried the media will move onto the next thing and this important issue will be once again swept under the carpet. It is so important to keep the conversation going and for the media to keep holding the government accountable.

There is a much greater awareness about domestic violence and the impact it has on families. We are more aware as a society of what is happening in our neighbourhoods and communities. I believe this understanding has led to a greater empathy for those subjected to abuse.

There are not enough rooms to meet the need

There are too few resources available to those women escaping domestic violence. More women are reaching out with less rooms available in shelters. Even for those lucky enough to get a room there is not enough suitable, affordable housing for when they leave the shelter.

Budgets are being cut

Women’s legal services are having their budget cut this year, legal aid is pushed to its limits. Too many women are left in a precarious position when it comes to protection orders and custody agreements. Trust me when I say the court process is intimidating, scary and overwhelming.

Centrelink does not feel suppportive

Now on top of the lack of resources we have Centrelink chasing debt that is often false and even disclosing someone’s details to the media (I am not going to mention her name here, as I think she has been treated badly enough). How unsafe would a woman leaving a violent relationship feel in reaching out to Centrelink?

The Government needs to walk the walk

Whist the Government talks about caring and supporting women their actions tell a different story. They have created a sector that is not only underfunded but is becoming openly hostile for those women brave enough to leave an abusive relationship.

The good old days

I recently told to a front-line worker that when I left my abusive relationship a decade ago; it was on a Wednesday morning and there were only two rooms left in shelter’s in the whole of NSW, she called that ‘The good old days’. And she is right, where resources and funding are concerned we are going backward.

The awareness we need to create now is an awareness of just how underfunded this sector is, because I believe if more people truly understood things could start to improve.

It is time to step up

It is time to decide, do we as a society simply want to have a conversation? Or take the steps needed to create a society where women can reach out for help and know it will be there? From their community, Government and their employer.

An International Women’s Day, thank you

So, I find it hard to say Happy International Women’s Day when I know firsthand how too many women in abusive relationships are feeling today. And how hard it will be for them to access support. So instead I will say thank you to all the amazing people who work in the front line of this issue helping women find safety, support and comfort in a time when it is so needed. THANK YOU, you literally save lifes.