Beyond #StruggleStreet: 'You are what you want to make yourself'

22 July 2015

SBS's documentary Struggle Street, which aired earlier in the year, got Australia talking about poverty.



Some saw it as a crude attempt to exploit vulnerable people in order to score bigger television ratings; others thought it showed a lot of truth and depicted resilience in the face of unimaginable daily challenges.

Wherever you stand, one thing remains: poverty.

And according to new research by the Brotherhood of St Laurence, which measures social exclusion in Australia, the picture is not getting better for those who are highly disadvantaged.

"The Social Exclusion Monitor bulletin shows the risk of social exclusion is not the same for everybody," say Brotherhood researchers Francisco Azipitarte and Shelley Mallett on news-site The Conversation.

"The demographic groups most likely to experience exclusion are people aged 65 and above – almost half experienced it in 2012 – and people with long-term health conditions or a disability – more than half experienced it."

The research shows that about 825,000 Australians experienced deep exclusion and more than 150,000 people were very deeply excluded.

"The Brotherhood of St Laurence, working with the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, has just released their fifth Social Exclusion Monitor, which does more than look at poverty, it quantifies how Australia is failing in its wellbeing through a cluster of indicators that include lack of access to education, healthcare, housing, transport, employment, family support and personal safety," said the Sunday Age on 11 July 2015.

Symantha, 18, resident of Frankston, was profiled in the Sunday Age story. She told of overcoming serious challenges to break away from a life of exclusion.

Earlier this month the Brotherhood spoke with Symantha – who has just completed a traineeship at our Frankston site – as part of a regular series called Brotherhood Stories.

Despite Struggle Street coming to an end, the struggle continues for many – as should the conversation about poverty in our community, and attempts to reduce it.

The Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) acknowledges and understands its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and recognises that all children and young people have the right to be treated with respect and care, and to be safe from all forms of abuse. BSL has a zero tolerance towards child abuse.
Read the official statement signed by the Executive Director.

The Brotherhood recognises the harm that family violence causes and that freedom from violence is a basic human right.
We will support our staff, volunteers, clients and the community if they experience violence.

Find out more about the work of the Brotherhood
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The Brotherhood of St Laurence acknowledges and recognises the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we live and work, and we pay our respects to their Elders both past and present.

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