A report in the DomPost this morning:
"...Green Party social development spokeswoman Jan Logie said international evidence shows about 70 per cent of people seeking income support are in a violent relationship so many more people should be receiving an exemption."
That was news to me.
She also recently said in Parliament:
"I really have to remind this Committee, again, of the fact that there is international research, which indicative research in New Zealand backs up, that 70 percent of these sole parents are likely to be leaving violent relationships."
So a did a bit of googling.
Here is the Australian research:
"This paper summarises the findings from a study investigating aspects of single mothers’ experiences of transition and adaptation to living as a single parent in South Australia in the 1990s. The qualitative research traced 36 respondents’ decision making, and the events surrounding their entry into sole parent status and subsequent adaptation.....The women in this study were drawn from the group at highest risk of violence - single women who had previously had a partner. Just over half the sample (55 percent) had ever experienced physical or sexual assault by a former partner and/or other family member. Of the twenty survivors of violent assaults, ten had first been abused in childhood, and eight of these had also experienced violent adult relationships. Of the 29 separated mothers, seventy-two percent nominated violence as the reason their relationship ended....
All respondents had claimed income support at the time they became single mothers.
The research sample was drawn from a range of sources in South Australia including 8 women from a parent community of a primary school in a low socio-economic region of metropolitan Adelaide, 6 clients from a sole parent resource centre, 2 students from Flinders University, 10 referrals from respondents and 10 mothers from Whyalla. Recruitment of respondents was undertaken by a combination of notices at venues which mothers attended, invitation by the researcher and referrals from respondents. Thirty percent of the respondents were aged between 25 and 34, whilst 60 percent were aged between 35 and 45. Just over half the sample had been a single parent for less than five years and 70 percent had one or two children.
The sample was grouped for analysis into mothers who gave birth alone (n=7), mothers who separated from non-violent relationships (n=11) and mothers who separated from violent relationships (n=18).....
The findings from the study highlight the compounding ways in which violence against women and children is a critical factor impacting on the population of single parents in Australia. The National Council of Single Mothers and their Children’s (NCSMC) member organisation in South Australia, Spark Resource Centre, has consistently identified that between seventy and eighty percent of clients presenting at the Centre are survivors of violence. Their presenting problems include poverty, homelessness, being unable to protect themselves or their children from abuse during contact, children’s behavioural problems arising from violence and feelings of rejection and stigma from wider society."
The research is biased. 10 respondents were referrals. The consistent identification of violence survivors comes from those who turn up at resource centres. It'd be like doing a survey at Women's Refuge.
Qualitative research does not allow conclusions to be drawn across the whole population.
Getting back to the reason Jan Logie was making this claim - to ensure certain sole parents aren't work-tested - why is it the Greens think that discouraging women from developing a new support network of friends and co-workers and leaving the isolation of being benefit-dependent and easy prey for a ne'er-do-well, is such a bad thing?