First Social Impact Bond in Austria: Economic and Social Empowerment for Women affected by violence
In the working programme 2013-2018, the Austrian government pledged to promote innovative approaches within social policy to address the social challenges. The pilot project was initiated by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection together with Juvat (a non-profit subsidiary of Benckiser foundation), which already had experience with SIB. The project started in September 2015 and will end in August 2018.
The issue addressed is economic and social dependency of women affected by violence. One in every five women is affected by domestic violence. Every year about 1700 women and 1600 children seek for help in women‘s shelters. Additionally, Domestic Abuse Interventions Centers provide assistance to 15000 women and girls and about 16000 children witness domestic violence. Often these women see no other possibility than going back to their abuser, since they are financially and socially dependent on their abuser. More than two third of the victims are unemployed, 10% lose their job as a result of leaving their abuser or as a result of staying at a women‘s shelter. 40% have not completed their schooling or only finished compulsory schooling. A fourth goes back to their abuser and around 20% seek protection in a women‘s shelter more often than once. That is why the Social Impact Bond was implemented and therefore, Perspektive:Arbeit (“prospect:employment”) was created, which helps women to find work and hopefully allows them to escape the abusive situation.
The target group that has been defined are women who have been affected by violence in Upper Austria. Additionally, they had to be in contact with either a women‘s shelter or a Center for Protection against violence in Upper Austria during the last 24 months. The women have to be legal residents in Austria, of working age and they need to have a valid work permit. Furthermore, they either are at risk of losing their job or do not earn a living wage.
Consequently, the objective of the SIB is to help women affected by violence to become financially independent through helping them to find a long-term job, which fulfils certain criteria. It has to be for at least a year during the term of the project, the job needs to pay a living wage, be subject to social insurance contributions and comprise at least 20 hours per week. This is assured through Perspektive:Arbeit, an individual counselling and placement process. The appropriate type of support is determined on an individual basis by working closely with existing services and programs such as the Austrian Public Employment Service and women‘s organizations. The aim is to provide women affected by violence a holistic and individual service and to provide them with protection, housing and mobility, guarantee childcare, and ensure safe and sensible structures in the workplace. Additionally, the women will be accompanied over a year after they found a job. In total, the goal is that 50 women are placed in a long-term job and 25 women are prevented from losing their current job.
Project implementation: Austrian Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection & Juvat gemeinnützige Gesellschaft mbH
Project duration: 09/2015 – 08/2018
Issue addressed: Economic and social dependency of women affected by domestic violence
Premium: 804.688 € (funding + 1% p.a.)
- More than 60% of the victims are unemployed
- 10% lose their jobs as a result of leaving their abuser or staying at a women’s shelter
- Over 40% have either not completed their schooling, have dropped out of an apprenticeship program, or have only completed their compulsory schooling
- Due to financial dependency, around 25% return to their abuser
- Around 20% seek protection in a women’s shelter two or more times
Women affected by violence in the state of Upper Austria who
- Have been in contact with a women‘s shelter or a Center for Protection Against Violence in Upper Austria within the last 24 months
- Are legal residents of Austria, are of working age, and have valid work permits
- Do not earn a living wage
- Are at risk of losing their job
Help 75 women to find a job, which fulfils following criteria
- A job that is subject to social insurance contributions
- That pays a living wage
- For at least 20 hours per week
- For at least a year during the term of the project
For more information, please visit the website of the Austrian Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection: https://www.sozialministerium.at/site/Soziales_und_KonsumentInnen/Soziale_Themen/Soziale_Innovation/Social_Impact_Bond/.
Juvat, Benckiser Stiftung Zukunft 2015: http://www.benckiser-stiftung.org/blog/first-social-impact-bond-launched-in-austria.