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Call for decisive action to support older women under financial hardship

22 May 2019

The Salvation Army is urging state and federal governments to make easing the daily financial struggle of older women a priority matter.

A review of client needs data has found more than 60 percent of people who access the Salvos’ Moneycare financial counselling service are women.

The analysis also found Australians aged 65 or older - the parents and grandparents in our community – are the most rapidly growing group needing the charity’s assistance.

The call for hope and help comes as the Salvos prepare for the annual Red Shield Appeal weekend (May 25-26) which supports its emergency relief services.

Salvation Army Officer Major Paul Moulds says, “older women have become the unexpected face of poverty in Australia. Their life as a primary carer, in the majority of cases, sets back their superannuation and employment options later in life.”

“Older women, many fleeing family violence, are especially vulnerable and we are seeing anecdotal evidence that many suffer in silence rather than ask for help, Major Moulds says.

Major Moulds says all governments must work together to adopt a comprehensive long-term plan to tackle poverty in Australia.

“An increase of welfare payments by a minimum of $75 per week to ensure that those reliant on government assistance can live with dignity, addressing the causes of cost of living pressures, and the development of a nationally coordinated homelessness and housing affordability strategy would make an enormous difference, “Major Moulds says.

Major Moulds says the public can support disadvantaged Australians around the country by donating or volunteering for this year’s Red Shield Appeal, taking place on the weekend of May 25-26.

“You can bring hope where it’s needed most. The Salvos can only meet the great need within our community because, year after year, Australians come together to stand by those doing it tough. So please donate or volunteer for this year’s appeal because no one should have to go it alone.”

Key Points emerging from the Salvos’ Red Shield Appeal Financial Distress Review

  • A 40 percent increase in the number of people accessing financial counselling through the Salvos in the past five years and more than three in five of those were women
  • A 50 percent increase in the number of women aged 55-64 suffering employment issues (job discrimination, sudden job loss, under employment)
  • The average client is living well below the poverty line, living on income that is less than 40 percent of the average Australian household
  • One quarter of clients is experiencing extreme housing stress, paying 70 percent of their income towards housing.

Download the full report here

Annual Red Shield Appeal facts and figures

Over the past 12 months,*

  • The Salvos have supported more than 38,000 people experiencing homelessness
  • Assisted 14,000 people overcoming addiction
  • Provided over 50,000 financial counselling sessions
  • Given care to 5,000 people experiencing family violence, and assisted more than 150,000 people with emergency relief

To donate or volunteer to The Salvation Army’s Red Shield Appeal visit or phone 13 SALVOS (13 72 58). You can also donate in person at any Westpac branch, at Woolworths checkouts or Salvo Stores.

*The Salvation Army Australia, Service and Mission Information System, July 2017 – June 2018.

The Salvation Army acknowledges the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia and recognises their continuing connection to land, waters and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures; and to elders both past and present.

13 SALVOS (13 72 58)

Gifts of $2 or more to the social work of The Salvation Army in Australia are tax deductible.Details and ABNs

Hope where it's needed most