Bad Relationships & lack of finances are at the core of homelessness this Christmas.

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The Body Shop is raising awareness of homelessness and lack of financial independence for women this Christmas.

The Body Shop will be donating a portion of profits from October 26 to December 25 to Launch Housing, an organisation that helps women Have the tough discussions with their partners.

In addition, The Body Shop Australia has teamed up with rising singer-songwriter Siala to produce a new cover of Crystal Waters’ iconic 90s anthem Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless) for the launch of its 2020 Christmas campaign, which will bring people together to fight female homelessness in Australia.

Domestic violence is the major reason women in Australia end up homeless, and this can be in the form of financial, physical and/or emotional abuse.  Financial abuse is more common than physical violence.

Renae at The Body Shop Launch.
Renae at The Body Shop Launch. of The Homelessness Campaign

Police are called to domestic violence issues in Australia every 2 minutes. One in 4 women in Australia is subjected to domestic violence.

Financial abuse is at the basis of it (controlling bank accounts, fraud, siphoning money) and women often leave relationships tens of thousands of dollars in debt.

Financial independence and access to housing are the critical factors.

Anna Baltins, Head of the Domestic Violence Unit at Legal Aid NSW explains;  “Many people don’t recognise or understand that domestic violence is more than just physical abuse.  

“Financial abuse is a common tactic perpetrators of domestic violence use to get and keep power and control in relationships, and it can happen in any relationship.  

Financial abuse is not okay. Financial abuse is one of the main reasons women who are experiencing domestic violence don’t leave the relationship or will return to the relationship – because they are worried about being able to financially provide for themselves or their children.  

It is also one of the reasons why women who leave violent relationships aren’t safe – they don’t have access to money, housing or financial security.  

It is important that we start the conversation to raise awareness about financial abuse so that we can help prevent it in future generations.  

It is also important we educate women about what financial abuse is, because sometimes it can be difficult to spot and women may not even realise it is happening to them.”

Building healthy, positive relationships is the first step for women being safe. Anna says women need to spot the signs early in a relationship in order to avoid entering an abusive relationship.

Domestic Violence can lead to homelessness for women
Domestic Violence can lead to homelessness for women

“Some of the warning signs to look out for in a relationship include things like; your partner isolating you from your family and friends, telling you what you can and can’t wear, who you can talk to and where you can and can’t go, threatening, harassing or stalking you.

“It can also include using technology, like mobile phones, to track you and check your messages, emails and social media accounts, calling you names and putting you down, preventing you from practicing your religion, faith or culture, harming or threatening to harm your pets, controlling your money and the family finances or demanding money from you, damaging your property, or threatening to do this, sharing intimate images of you, or threatening to do this and so on.”

Whilst buying from The Body Shop helps the cause this Christmas, being aware of the behaviours and boundaries within your own relationships, and those of your friends is a great way to raise awareness and to support each other.

You can learn more about domestic violence, support services, legal help that is available and ways you can help through online resources like the Family Violence Law Help website1800RESPECT website or Our Watch website.

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Renae Leith

CONTRIBUTOR

Renae Leith travels the world writing (www.renaesworld.com.au). She has had a colourful media career as a journalist in many magazines and newspapers, and spends her time writing, consulting to new businesses, running, doing yoga, swimming & cycling.
She's likes healthy eating, but thinks chocolate cake is just as important as kale chips.
She spends most weekends writing, and hanging out with her gorgeous twins.

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