Today we marked the one year anniversary of the unique and award-winning, interest-free, micro loans for Canberra’s women and men “missing middle” domestic violence survivors.
Research shows that access to finance is a key factor influencing a women’s ability to leave, stay or return to an abusive relationship and the vast majority of women experiencing
domestic violence in Canberra also experience financial abuse. In its first year, the Assistance Beyond Crisis Microfinance Program looked to help women and men who have escaped
domestic violence situations and need urgent financial assistance with interest-free loans. To date the program has provided 27 loans to help 27 women, all single, and an additional 53 children
who were part of these families. These loans are targeted at working parents or individuals, who have experienced and left domestic violence situations but need help getting back on
their feet and avoid homelessness or returning to a bad situation to alleviate financial hardship. “These loans were used to pay rent and rental bonds, get critical household appliances like
refrigerators and washing machines or pay for medical care and education costs,” says Georgina Byron, CEO of The Snow Foundation, who provided funding and helped catalyse
more funding across many businesses in Canberra. “There’s a gap in funding for working women and men–the missing middle–who need help. If money is tight and a person is
struggling to stay away from a domestic violence situation, a few thousand dollars can make all the difference.” Co-funded by community donations and donations from several generous companies, foundations and individuals, this innovative funding model has been recognised by both the Small Grants Awards from Philanthropy Australia and the Workplace and Business Award at the 2017 ACT Violence Prevention Awards. In its first year, other groups have approached the steering committee about more information for a similar program in the Hunter region.
“Many of the people who apply for assistance through the ABC program have already been through a tough time,” says Carmel Franklin, CEO, care inc. “They are enormously relieved
to have access to a no interest loan which provides practical support as they move on with their lives.” “We had a strong first year, and now we hope to be able to assist more women and their
families who need a little extra money to remain independent while dealing with financial bumps in the road,” says Ms Byron. Statistics show that the threat of homelessness is strong for families in the ACT. More than half of female homeowners who leave their home because of domestic violence, become homeless in 12 months, and 30% of people seeking homeless services in the ACT are
children, according to a 2018 Vital Signs report about the state of Canberra.
If you know someone who may benefit from an Assistance Beyond Crisis microloan, learn more here or contact care inc. at 6257 1788.
Many thanks to Assistance Beyond Crisis sponsors:
Aspen Medical, Beyond Bank Australia, Communities@Work, Deloitte. EY The Funding Network Australia, Hands Across Canberra, Independent Property Group, KPMG, PWC, Quest Training, Deborah and Richard Rolfe, SERVICE ONE Alliance Bank, The Snow Foundation, Stephen Byron, Dr Tony Tonks and Capital Giving.