Right Under Our Noses: The Perpetual Cycle of Violence Against Women

A closer look at the way we are looking after older Australian women - the most susceptible group to domestic violence and street violence.

Rough sleeping Woman
Rough sleeping Woman: ABC News: all rights reserved

The Idea 

I will be writing a feature article on the historical, public issue of domestic violence experienced by women and the consequences had for older homeless women ‘sleeping rough’ in Sydney. Whilst the link between domestic violence and homelessness is far from new, my feature article is newsworthy because it has enduring social relevance: 1 in 3 Australian women have experienced physical violence by a partner since the age of 15. 


I will begin the feature with a ‘question lead’ centred on our potential preoccupation with the Harvey Weinstein saga how this has distracted Australians from another home-grown issue: domestic violence related homelessness. I will iterate this viewppint is subjective, that the Weinstein saga has benefited gender equality and that this point should be taken as reflection, not fact.

As discussed in The Pacific Standard, the average age of homeless women is continuing to rise and this group of women will only become more vulnerable to repeat violence. The content is emotive, engaging and relatable to the general public because housing costs are so high in Sydney.

The Interview 

I will be conducting a series of interviews with CEO of Sanctuary Housing, Nicole T Harcourt. This non- for profit organisation provides women and children crisis accomodations and women’s refuges for those escaping domestic violence situations. Demand for housing remains high and Nicole is the best person to provide insight as to the current trends and rammifications on the older female Australian population. 

Story Techniques 

I will draw upon one of William Blundell’s (1988) five key techniques; ’localisation’ to hone in on specific sightings of women who are sleeping rough around Circular Quay. I will then convert interview transcripts about domestic violence incidents and women seeking refuge, into figurative excerpts that compliment the rest of the feature. The content relates specifically to local Sydney siders and the national Conversation readership as an Australian story. My story has currency because it reflects on newer research collated from the 2016 ABS Census of Population and Housing, indicating a spike in older women (over 65) who are rough sleepers. 


My news article is best suited to the tastes of those who read The Conversation. It is an intellectual, in-depth analysis of domestic violence and a reflection on the perpetual cycle of homelessness and violence many Australian women are faced regularly. This story is about women, and will be pertinent to the experiences of women in this demographic. It is also one that effects all Australians and will fit The Conversation’s 50/50 audience ratio of men and women. 

The Conversation has a 35 million republication rate meaning readers are actively engaging with the content they consume. This is positive for the circulation, awarness and education of readers. Smaller reader demographics such as teachers, healthcare/ medical and government/policy reflect the pertinence of shared research and ideas within the medical and political fields. 


The Conversation's Reader Infographic
The Conversation’s Reader Infographic


Research reports such as those conducted by The Salvation Army, ‘Violence Against Homeless Women: Safety and Social Policy’ [pdf] and ‘Homelessness and Women’ [pdf] published by Homelessness Australia, have provided me with statistical data and evidenced-based research which I can convert into graphic illustrations. These include an infographic and a break out box to highlight the most engaging and memorable quotations. Photographs such as portraits of Nicole will be used to enhance the storytelling feature of characterisation. 


Word Count: 550 

About Olivia Gorman 3 Articles
Liv Gorman is a writer and producer in Sydney. She is a graduate from the Bachelor of Arts in Comms (Writing and Cultural Studies) at UTS and is studying a Masters of Publishing in Sydney University. She co-produces a storytelling evening, Generation Women Sydney and finds inspiration in theatre, poetry and fiction.


  1. Hi Olivia,
    Your pitch on violence against women is very eye opening and attention-grabbing. We always here about domestic violence against women but I have never seen it linked to homelessness, even though there is an obvious link.

    Your pitch is current, abuse against woman is always reoccurring in the news, however it is also timeliness as the story is portrayed with a correlation to being homeless. With it being based in Sydney, readers can relate through proximity. As the story is about a sensitive matter your feature is impactful. This shows that your pitch is newsworthy.

    I would maybe include an interview with a homeless woman in Sydney that has gone through the abuse and share her story with the readers, this would make your story more impactful.

    In terms of multimedia you could include images of the interviewee, and her living conditions. A video documentary would create more user engagement and allowing the readers to share her story will create more buzz for your story.

    All in all, your pitch has a great angle and your story is very interesting.

    • Hi Hasinah,

      Thank you for your comment. You are right in that whilst the issue of homelessness being linked to domestic violence is not a new issue, it is one that is not often discussed which makes it fertile ground for writing and analysis. I have considered interviewing a homeless woman for her story and may still do so. At this stage, it will focus on the amazing men and women who run non for profit groups that are paving the way for change. I really like your video documentary idea whether its a vignette or longer.



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