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HILDA report highlights financial abuse
Welfare experts are raising concerns about rising levels of financial abuse among couples in the wake of a national survey showing Australians are suffering from increasing levels of financial stress. 

A toxic mix of low wages and fast rising rents
Two reports released within 24 hours of each other, in the last week of July, neatly summarise the state of New Zealand right now. They showed the wealth of the richest sprinting ahead with property values, while the poorest are struggling with stubbornly low wages and fast-rising housing costs. Bernard Hickey reports on a tale of two New Zealands. 

Child abuse reports double since intervention
The Federal Government's controversial intervention in the Northern Territory has been exposed as a multimillion-dollar failure that only worsened the abuse of Indigenous children. About half of Indigenous children in the NT now come to the attention of the child protection system by the age of 10, the Royal Commission has heard.

Building social justice through share advocacy
Wealth inequality in Australia is flourishing. The top one per cent of household wealth in Australia is moving toward being 20 per cent of total wealth, and the country is a preferred destination for millionaires. But, check out some paths to social justice, Ann Deslandes suggests in this Eureka Street article.

Locked warriors New Zealand’s prison problem
Despite its reputation for social justice and equality, New Zealand has one of the highest rates of imprisonment in the western world. One in two prisoners are Maori, even though they account for just 15 percent of the population. Soaring rates of child poverty, school dropout, unemployment and family breakdown within indigenous communities are responsible, writes Al Jazeera.

The federal budget: a fair go for all?
The current government's election policy platform, Our Plan: Real solutions for all Australians, stated as one of its aims delivering "a decent and respectful society which gives a 'fair go' to all, and encourages people to thrive and move ahead". But, as Jenny Begent writes, a 'fair go for all' means continuing to invest in those within our community who are most in need, to ensure they are able to participate fully in and contribute to our society.

Welfare recipients vulnerable under auto-debt scheme
Many vulnerable Tasmanians have been “crushed” by the Centrelink automated debt recovery program, a Senate inquiry has heard, reports The Mercury.

Every day is Ash Wednesday for the poor
For Catholics, Ash Wednesday, the start of the Lenten season, is a day of fasting and penance. For poor Filipinos, however, it is just another day in their daily struggle to survive.

Record numbers sleeping rough in Melbourne
John King, 48, is one of the new faces living tough on Melbourne's streets; one of a surging number of worn out people sleeping rough, sheltering in squats or parks.  

English helps sow the winds of change in Myanmar
If the values of the students in Maryknoll Father James Kofski's English language classes are typical, the future of Myanmar looks bright. The La Salle English Center, where Father Kofski teaches, challenges its students to develop critical thinking — an essential skill in Myanmar's emerging democracy.  

Aussie bishops ahead of the curve on “grayby” boom
We see a growing trend, that’s probably only at the beginning, of elder homelessness, for instance. It’s often a real plight for older people having to set up their own situations, without help from their families, leaving themselves exposed to not being able to come up with the resources to care for themselves.  

Jesuit Social Services targets lack of secure housing
With the treatment of prisoners a key issue across the country following revelations from within the Northern Territory's youth detention system, a group of people with acquired brain injuries (ABIs) and contact with the criminal justice system have cited a lack of housing and support for people with disability as the number one factor behind re-offending.  

Market economics not the solution for human services
There is a joke about a man looking for a coin under a streetlight: he had dropped it elsewhere, in the dark, but was looking under the streetlight because he could see more clearly there. In the same way, the thinking behind the Productivity Commission inquiry into increasing competition, contestability and informed user choice in human services is fundamentally flawed. The complexity and interconnectedness of human services is too challenging for market economics to properly address, writes Roland Manderson for Eureka Street.  

Education in Timor-Leste
Following the progress of two education projects by the Jesuits in Timor-Leste, the Colegio de Santo Inacio de Loiola — a secondary school which opened in 2013 — and the Instituto Sao Joao de Brito, a teacher education institute. The video shows the change and growth in children who had enrolled the year the school opened, as they graduated junior high school this year and moved into senior high years. 

Sudan’s midwives take on female genital mutilation
How a school for midwives in Eastern Sudan is empowering and educating women and girls about FMG 

The human cost of the housing crisis
Soaring property prices which have locked many New Zealanders out of home ownership are part of an even bigger housing problem, writes Simon Collins for New Zealand Herald. West Auckland grandmother Lee Hickey is moving out of her house to make room for her daughter, son-in-law and their two children. "I live in the house, but I'm down to one room, and I'm about to move into a sleepout that I'm having built because there is just nothing out there that they can afford," she says. 

The bleeding obvious about homelessness
We're staring down the barrel of a social crisis, a completely avoidable human tragedy writ large, writes John Falzon for Eureka Street. 

It happens to every woman yet it blights the lives of many
Meet the man whose menstruation invention has changed the lives of millions of Indian women. 

‘Shortage of doctors’ led to mysterious deaths in Papua
A scarcity of medical personnel in Indonesia's Papua province contributed to the mysterious deaths of 43 people, mostly children, in the Mbuwa area of Nduga district during October and November, activists claim.
The village has two unstaffed medical clinics, said Wene Talenggen, a local activist. Most victims were less than two years old, he said.  

Solidarity with West Papua
For the past 52 years, the people of West Papua have been subjected to gross human rights violations including rape, torture, cultural genocide, murder and massacre - more than 100,000 West Papuans have been killed. Many live in exile because it is not safe for them to go home.  

Human rights worsen in Papua
West Papua continues to be one of the regions of Asia most seriously affected by human rights violations and an unresolved long standing political conflict, says the International Coalition for Papua (ICP) of faith-based and civil society organisations. The living conditions of the indigenous Papuan peoples are in stark contrast to those of the trans- migrants from other parts of Indonesia.  

See also, Make Papua more accessible to journalists  

Jobs or health: a Cambodian choice
After an HIV outbreak in 2014 saw 264 people infected in the small northwest Cambodian village, aid flowed in, showily. The prime minister's wife delivered hundreds of kilos of rice, the health minister brought socks and sarongs, nongovernmental organizations came by with cash donations.

But a year after the mass infection was first detected, patients and their families are struggling to make ends meet.  

The uncomfortable truth about Myanmar
The 150,000 or so Muslim Rohinyga now trapped in 10 refugee camps near Sittwe, the capital of Myanmar's Rakhine state, are not allowed to leave the site, nor are about 50,000 others who were, until now, villagers tilling the land and fishing the backwaters and shores.  

Victims of prostitution younger in Philippines
Marie is expecting to have a baby in February next year. It's no easy ordeal for the 16-year-old girl who lives in a Davao City slum.

Every evening, Marie and her 14-year old lesbian partner, Lea, roam the streets of the city to look for clients. The young lovers are among the city's prostituted children.  

Filipino children diving for gold
In the Philippines, children dive underwater, swim down a wooden shaft barely wider than their shoulders, and mine for gold – all while breathing through a flimsy, narrow tube... Child labor stems from poverty, and much of the Philippines is extremely poor. Mining by children is part of daily life.  

Reviewing family violence law in New Zealand
A key focus of the submission included the need for the review to consider structural influences that support the conditions for family violence (ie poverty, overcrowding, substandard housing conditions, inadequate household income, historic colonisation), along with individual actions...  

Opening business windows for homeless
Loreto college graduate Sarah Gun has been employing women and young people at risk of homelessness for her Adelaide-based events design and management company for the past three years, reports The Southern Cross.  

A global economy with a conscience - pope
During his July trip to Ecuador, Bolivia, and Paraguay, some of the poorest countries in Latin America, Pope Francis has voiced the anguish and concerns of millions of people who are struggling to rise out of severe poverty and marginalisation, yet who are “exploited like slaves”.  

Poverty leaves women prey to traffickers in Indonesia
When Lucia Dos Santos went to Malaysia in 2006, leaving her husband and two children behind, the then-14-year-old hoped to return with enough money to support her family. Instead, it was four years later that she was back, blind in both eyes, after being stabbed by her employer over what she says was a minor infraction.  

Milk for Timor-Leste babies
The first week in August is international breastfeeding week and Fundasaun Alola is helping new mothers in Timor to understand the importance of breastfeeding their babies.  

Nepal: meeting the needs
Thousands have perished in the devastating earthquake in Nepal on April 25. As the world rightly reaches out to help the millions who are suffering, it is important that any help offered is based on a proper, needs-based assessment, and reaches the most vulnerable, writes Meenakshi Ganguly for Human Rights Watch.  

Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger
The first Millennium Development Goal (MDG) is to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. Under this MDG, countries committed to halving poverty between 1990 and 2015. By various measures of poverty, Indonesia has already successfully achieved this goal. Nonetheless, significant challenges remain, including high vulnerability, regional disparities, non-monetary poverty and rapidly rising inequality.  

Rebuilding Myanmar – a blueprint for eradicating poverty
Getting the entire package of reforms right will allow the Myanmar economy to seize the ample opportunities presented by trade and investment liberalisation. Only by accessing these benefits will Myanmar build lasting peace and prosperity for all of its people.  

Accept the marginalized and outcasts – Pope
"This is the 'logic', the mind of Jesus, and this is the way of the Church."

For Jesus, what matters above all is reaching out to save those far off, healing the wounds of the sick, restoring everyone to God's family! And this is scandalous to some people! Pope Francis told new cardinals on February 15.  

Benefit debt punishment out of proportion
Why are we burdening some of the poorest mothers in the country with lifetime debts while writing off the tax debts of some of our richest citizens? asks Catriona MacLennan in New Zealand Herald.  

A church for the poor
Pope Francis grabbed headlines recently when he announced that Rome had lifted the block on sainthood for Archbishop Óscar Romero of San Salvador who was shot dead while saying Mass in 1980. But much less attention was given to another of the pope's actions, one that underscores a significant shift inside the Vatican.

Read more 

See also A new sort of religious radical 

Inequality matters
Inequality matters. Inequality is dangerous. And inequality is at a near all-time high. At its core, the Government’s recent budget not only engenders but actively exults in the creation and maintenance of inequality, a phenomenon rapidly expanding not just in Australia, but around the world, writes Harry Maher for Eureka Street.

Read more 

Fifteen years after war, Timor-Leste faces a new fight
Prominent doctor warns that tuberculosis and HIV could soon 'bring the country down'. 

Minimum wages a guarantee of poverty
Following years of fruitless annual submissions to the Fair Work Commission (FWC), Brian Lawrence of ACCER (Australian Catholic Council for Employment Relations) has had enough. We are witnessing, he says, the undesirable rise of a permanent underclass, the working poor.  

Sick children need leadership on poverty
A Child Poverty Action Group report released 1 May says New Zealand can radically improve the problem of poor child health, if it chooses to address the causes which are rooted in poverty.

‘We tolerate a much higher level of poverty for children than for the rest of the population, which shows in their dreadful health statistics,’ said CPAG's co-convenor Janfrie Wakim. ‘It should not be accepted as normal that one in four New Zealand children are poor ...’  

Bishop calls for an economy of social inclusion
In a pastoral letter for the Feast of St Joseph the Worker, Chair of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council, Bishop Christopher Saunders, has called for an economy of social inclusion. He says that it is unacceptable that so many have been excluded from the benefits of two decades of economic growth.  

Going back to serve my people
In the village of Popa on Myanmar’s central plains, a young Burmese woman is fulfilling her dream of opening a pre-school for children desperate for an education.  

Homeless young people need the means to flourish
Curing homelessness is not simply a matter of finding homes for disadvantaged people. With backgrounds of family dysfunction, broken schooling, physical and mental illness and addiction, homeless young people come to the attention of many government departments. For all the goodwill involved, the effect of piecemeal interventions is to confuse young people who feel themselves the object of care, not the subject of their own growth.  

Make the economy sustainable – ACOSS
The Australian Council of Social Services has urged the Federal Government to deliver on its promise to put the nation’s economy on a sustainable long-term footing when it releases its Budget on 13 May. CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie says this is vital when employment growth is stagnating and unemployment is tipped to rise to six percent of the workforce.  

Exploiting consumers needs to be illegal
The ANZ Bank faces a huge payout after a class action by its customers secured a partial but significant victory against the bank's unfair and illegal credit card late payment fees. This is happening because we have laws to protect consumers. The Federal Government is well advanced in its efforts to wind back existing and planned laws that protect consumers, as they are considered red tape that places an unnecessary burden on business.  

The economics of inequality
…why the wealth gap is bad for everyone

Protecting the rich at the expense of the poor isn’t just immoral, says American economist Charles Clark, it is a recipe for economic disaster.  

Nepalese make their own electricity
Local communities in Nepal are starting to generate their own electricity through 'micro-hydro' projects. Since 1996, nearly 400 micro-hydro power plants have been built, bringing energy to around half a million people.  

Lobbying for justice for the poor
Sr Carmel's battle for justice for the poor Living and working with marginalised people for the past 21 years, Sister Carmel Hanson rsj knows a thing or two about unemployment, homelessness and poverty, reports Catholic Religious Australia.  

The struggle for fair living standards
Despite economic growth in recent decades, one in six employees is struggling against poverty because of low wages and incomes that have fallen behind. In a sobering reminder of the inequities in the wages system, Brian Lawrence showed how some upper-income groups had done very well, while others not so.  

Smoking hurts the poor more
The Cancer Council is now addressing smoking as a social justice issue. They work in partnership with social service agencies, like our own CatholicCare, to reduce the prevalence of smoking among disadvantaged groups.  

Where is the poverty line?
How many Australians live at or below the poverty line? New research puts the number above 2 million. It's time to stop pretending poverty doesn't exist, argues Brianna Davidson for New Matilda.  

Dropping Off the Edge

Catholic Social Services and Jesuit Social Services provide a range of materials, resources and policy papers to raise awareness of homelessness and disadvantage in Australia.

“Those who hold goods for use and consumption should use them with moderation, reserving the better part for guests, for the sick and the poor”.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, n 2405

Anti Poverty Week
Find out about action planned for 17 - 23 October all around the country.
"The challenge that Jesus presented to the rich young man is the same we face in Australia today: will we use our great wealth for the benefit of all and particularly for those who have been denied the benefits of prosperity?"
Australian Bishops, Social Justice Sunday Statement 2008

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