Mothers on the margins

Social security Australia Victoria

Every year Anglicare Victoria conducts a survey of its Emergency Relief and Financial Counselling clients to assess the level and extent of hardship and to highlight a contemporary problem facing people on low income.

In the light of the Australian Government’s recent decision to move principal parents from parenting support payments to unemployment payments when the youngest child reaches the age of eight (single parents) and six (parents in couple relationships) years, the aim of the 2013 Survey was to record the struggles experienced by women with dependent children who sought assistance from Anglicare Victoria due to financial hardship as well as the challenges they face in moving from welfare to a situation of self-reliance.

Data collected on 325 clients, including 104 mothers, across 25 Victorian service locations revealed:

  • An unacceptably high proportion of women with children were unable to afford items that most Australians would consider ‘essential living needs’
  • Mothers accessing welfare services, regardless of partner status, experienced more disadvantage than all other clients
  • All clients in the labour force (employed and unemployed) experienced a high number of barriers to employment
  • A significantly higher proportion of mothers compared to other clients cited a lack of available child care and the cost of child care as barriers to employment.
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