Migrant Services

 3E’s to Freedom Program

Education Employment Empowerment

The 3Es to Freedom program emerged from Anglicare North Coast’s practical experience in delivering settlement services to families from refugee backgrounds. Working predominantly with female heads-of-households arriving as refugees, the emerging practice wisdom of Anglicare North Coast (ANC) indicated that economic and financial independence positively impacted other areas of women’s lives.  These included increased confidence and self-esteem, wider work / career choices and reduced dependence on relationships that were potentially abusive. This is congruent with research suggesting that improving women’s financial security plays an important role in increasing their safety and reducing vulnerability to violence.

ANC was keen to explore ways of harnessing our practice wisdom to make a difference at local levels, whilst contributing to the body of knowledge in this area.  We developed a research-informed hypothesis that women from refugee backgrounds were less likely to be victims of domestic and family violence if they were educated, employed and empowered (thus the 3Es). The concept held appeal for the Federal Government Department of Social Services, Family Services Branch, who invited ANC to submit a proposal for funding that aligned with the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010 – 2022. Following a successful submission, the 3Es to Freedom Action Research Pilot was funded for twelve months, commencing in July 2016 in Coffs Harbour.

The pilot specifically aimed to support and empower vulnerable women experiencing or at risk of violence through the provision of an intensive education and employment programme and aimed for results in improved physical and emotional wellbeing, increased independence and better family and social relationships.

The success of the program within its first six months, saw additional funding under the Third Action Plan (2016-2019) and the extension of the 3Es program in Coffs Harbour for a further two years as well as expanding it to two further areas: the Richmond Tweed (NSW) and Gold Coast (Qld) areas.