family violence, taking action

life

In Australia each year, on average, at least one woman a week is killed by a partner or former partner*. This is a national tragedy that demands urgent action.
 

As a society we need to do more to support women seeking to escape these abusive relationships. Super could be a much needed lifeline.
 
That’s why HESTA has been talking with the Federal Government about changing super rules to allow family violence survivors, as a last resort, to access up to $10,000 of their super. It's important to note, this change needs government approval and may take some time.
 
“We need to take action now. Accessing super should be an interim measure and another tool that we can use to stem this tragic loss of life,” HESTA CEO Debby Blakey said.
 
“Finances are too often a barrier for women trying to leave a violent relationship and, unfortunately, financial support for survivors of family violence is grossly inadequate.”
 
 

Show your support for access to super for family violence survivors.

What needs to change?

There are very few ways to access super early as it’s meant for retirement. It’s only allowed if you’re experiencing financial hardship or on what’s called compassionate grounds.

To be eligible under financial hardship rules you need to have been receiving Centrelink payments for 26 continuous weeks. This isn’t going to help many family violence survivors who may need money quickly or aren’t eligible for Centrelink payments.

Early access to super is currently possible to stop the bank selling your home, pay for a dependant's funeral or get medical treatment under compassionate grounds. But this is denied in instances of family violence.

“We think it’s entirely appropriate that super regulations extend compassion to survivors of family violence to empower women with the financial means to escape abusive relationships,” Debby said.

 

How do we make change happen?

We’re great at super but we knew that we needed to reach out to our partners in community services if we were going to make this happen.

We’ve been talking with a range of specialist family violence support service providers and experts in financial counselling on how we might best achieve and implement this change.

Our proposal has received widespread support from these organisations, and now we’re trying to convince the Government to change the super rules.


 

*Australian Institute of Criminology, 2015

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au – in an emergency, call 000. You can find out more about the support services in your state or territory here.

 

 

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Did you know?

HESTA is one of Australia’s biggest investors in low-carbon renewable energy, climate solutions and other green investments. We have already committed almost $1 billion to the sector. This means your super is being invested in new, clean energy options.