The latest figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that 105,237 people in Australia are experiencing homelessness, with 60% of those under the age of 35. Perhaps surprising to many people is that 44% of these are women, 13% are under the age of 12.
When considering these figures it is also important to remember that behind each number is the story of a fellow Australian who has experienced the extreme isolation and desperation of homelessness.
A victim of domestic abuse since she was a teenager, Sara’s story starts in Iran.
With three young daughters, Sara lived through emotional and physical turmoil in a violent relationship with her then husband. Sara managed the impossible – she summoned the courage to leave. Fleeing to Australia with two of her daughters, she believed her life would change.
It’s no mean feat to escape an abusive relationship and even harder to move countries to do so. Even so, Sara enlisted the help of a man to help her migrate to Australia. When things turned sour, Sara found herself in violent relationship with the very man who’d helped her. She became his slave, forced to cook, clean, care for his children, surrounded by constant drug use.
Despite having learnt English as a second language and having no work experience in Australia, once again Sara fled her relationship, taking her now teenage daughters with her. Like any mother, Sara didn’t want her daughters to continue to grow up in a violent, drug-fuelled environment.