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Domestic violence loans to support women fleeing violence

Good Shepherd Microfinance has welcomed the government’s commitment to a No Interest Loan scheme to help women and families escaping domestic violence

Tens of thousands of women fleeing domestic violence have been offered life-saving loans to help rebuild both theirs and their children’s lives.

Good Shepherd Microfinance has welcomed the federal government’s commitment of $14.9 million no interest loans. By expanding the national No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS), it provides safe and affordable loans of up to $2,000 for victims of violence.

Good Shepherd Microfinance CEO, Peter McNamara, said 90 per cent of family and domestic violence cases also involved financial abuse.

“Women who want to leave a violent partner are often put off by the expense of finding somewhere safe to live,” McNamara said. “They may not have their own income or savings, often they’ve been saddled with their partner’s debts and don’t know how they can afford to restart their lives.

“For many, it’s a big reason why they can’t leave an abusive relationship.”

More than 20 per cent of women have experienced emotional abuse from a partner, and 1 in 6 are subjected to physical violence. Of this, 1.86 million Australian women have experienced financial abuse.

About 72,000 women and 34,000 children sought emergency accommodation due to domestic violence in 2017. In 2017-18, 26,648 no interest loans of up to $25 million was provided through NILS and 66 per cent were women.

McNamara added that the funding would help up to 45,000 women and families by allowing Good Shepherd Microfinance to train 30 more specialists NILS workers and expand the network of community groups providing No Interest Loans.

“Our No Interest Loans will help thousands of domestic violence victims pay for all sorts of essentials like bond or rent, furniture and whitegoods, car registration or a computer so they can work, buying school gear for the kids, or covering medical bills.

“They can get back on their feet without getting into crushing debt.”

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