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Breaking the cycle of violence: Women’s Economic Independence & Employment Strategies

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Breaking the cycle of violence:
Women’s Economic Independence & Employment Strategies

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Breaking the cycle of violence: Women’s Economic Independence & Employment Strategies

  1. 1. A temporary refuge for women and children who are survivors of violence A Service by: The National Coordinating Body of Women’s Organisations in Singapore
  2. 2. Breaking the cycle of violence: Women’s Economic Independence & Employment Strategies Presenter & co-author: Lorraine Lim, Administrator & Counsellor, Star Shelter – SCWO Co-author: Armi Aarni, Research, SCWO
  3. 3. Scope of Presentation  Economic Independence  Role of Employment  Domestic Violence & Socio-Economic Status  Survivors of Domestic Violence in Singapore  Star Shelter & Residents  Programs for Employment & Financial Self-Reliance
  4. 4. Economic Independence Access to opportunities and resources  Meet own needs and dependent’s  Childcare  Healthcare  Housing  Transportation  Job  Career prospects, education, training
  5. 5. Role of Employment  Employment often key to financial self-reliance  For abused women, work must provide sufficiently, if she chooses to leave relationship  Abusers may interfere with partner’s work, obtain & maintain employment  Work’s positive effects    Raise self-esteem Less social isolation Improve psychological & physical health
  6. 6. Domestic Violence (DV) & Socio-Economic Status  Literature Review  Poorer women are more likely subjected to DV  U.K. women unable to find £100 are 3.5 times more likely subjected to DV  In the U.S. between 8.5% - 41.4% of women receiving welfare benefits victimised by DV  Higher economic power, lower risk of violence  Those financially dependent on abuser likely to stay
  7. 7. Domestic Violence (DV) & Socio-Economic Status  Most women living with DV   Do not have savings, cash, bank or credit accounts Have dependent children  Leaving abuser means decline in financial security & living standards  Women who flee, often return for financial reasons  Immigrant women in Singapore, with no right to work, depend on husbands for economic survival
  8. 8. Profiles of Survivors in Singapore  47.2 % in their 30s  43.4% only secondary school qualifications  22% housewives  12.8% unemployed  28.8% low paid work  About 400 referred to shelters annually
  9. 9. Star Shelter  Started in March 1999  30 beds  Serves about 120 women & their children annually  Stay about 3 to 6 months  About 80% experience intimate partner violence (IPV)
  10. 10. Profile of Star Shelter Clients 61 to 70 years 8% 51 to 60 years 16% 41 to 50 years 32% Education Level Age University & above 8% Pre-uni/Poly 11% 31 to 40 years 44% Primary 44% Secondary 37%
  11. 11. Profile of Star Shelter Clients Income per month Nationality Foreigners 10% S$1,301 to S$1,800 15% Permanent Residents 15% S$800 to S$1,300 85% Singaporean 75%
  12. 12. Star Shelter’s Holistic Approach Case Management Clothing Future Housing Job Matching Safe Accommodation PPO Legal Advice Financial Aid Food Childcare Basic Needs Practical Needs Groupwork Counselling Emotional Needs Art Therapy
  13. 13. Case A : No longer aimless and jobless Therapeutic Programs  Counselling  Art Therapy  Group Work  Open Art Studio Ms A • 39 year old, unemployed • Abused by boyfriend for 10 years ‘My life was like a cloud, floating without direction’ • After counselling, found job as kitchen helper ‘Counselling helped me improve my relationship with my bosses and colleagues’ • Increased salary • Left abusive relationship
  14. 14. Cases B & C : Work, childcare & financial help Mdm B Programs for Employment & Financial Self-Reliance  Job Matching  Childcare Arrangements • • • • • •  Financial Assistance  Budgetting Workshops 39 year-old, PR, jobless, 3 year-old daughter No social/family support Childcare arrangement Job matched Divorced husband Mdm C • • • • 30 year-old, 2 year-old son Security officer Funds for transport, phone card Secured better job after 2 months
  15. 15. Case D : Empowered with English Mdm D Other Job Strategies, Skills Training & Upgrading  English Classes  IT Skills  Food Handling Certification  Grooming Workshops  Yoga & Meditation  Gardening  Referrals to other community resources • 33 year-old, PR • Housewife, 3 year-old son • Poor spoken English • Attended English classes • Found job after 2 months • Rented room for herself and son after divorcing husband ‘I’m so happy…I can be independent and take care of my son. No need to depend on my husband.’
  16. 16. Conclusion  Many tools to break cycle of violence  Women’s economic independence is one tool  Financial self-reliance boosts confidence  Economic independence together with other life skills achieved with therapy  Therapy, case management, access to various opportunities & services provide holistic approach

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