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Outerbridge urges action on women’s issues

Nandi Outerbridge (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Opposition senator Nandi Outerbridge called on Government to continue looking into transitional living space, women’s issues and the family mediation council.

Ms Outerbridge said in the Upper House that these initiatives were started under the previous administration when she was the Minister for Social Development and Sport.

She said: “The three priority things to me were transitional living space for our young adults, particularly within the ages of 18 and 25 year olds, addressing a lot of women’s issues as it pertains to women’s equality in the workplace, and hopefully we are able to pick back up and push through the family mediation council.”

Speaking last Wednesday, Ms Outerbridge said she had examined the need for transitional living space with the Department of Child and Family Services and the Family Centre.

She added that it was also a priority for the young people on the streets that she spoke to.

Ms Outerbridge said she had looked into how many children go through the Child and Family Services programmes and become successful adults.

She asked: “There are quite a bit that I have to talked to myself who would say ‘even if I do land a job, I don’t even have the basic life skills to keep a job’.

“It was my endeavour to go out and seek some transitional living spaces for those vulnerable young adults in particular.”

She said nothing came of discussions about using free or vacant Government space for transitional living, which would include a life skills and education portion.

Ms Outerbridge added: “So that’s one of the things I’d like to put on the table for the new Government to possibly explore.”

She also urged the Government to continue examining women’s issues. Ms Outerbridge said she had started to look at domestic violence and abuse and how corporate companies can be brought on board to take on women’s charities.

She said: “Not everybody wants to sign with the women’s charity because it’s not the sexy charity — you’re not in the environment, you’re not picking up trash, you’re not cleaning an old folks’ homes. So they kind of distance themselves from it, not realising that there are people in their workplace that are experiencing some of the issues that these charities face everyday.”

She added that work had also started on implementing a family mediation council as an extension to the co-parenting mediation council formed under the former government.

Ms Outerbridge said this would be aimed at “people who don’t necessarily have children, people who need help when it comes to divorce or anything of that sort”.

“There was already legislation in the works to expand on that and create a family mediation piece and I would hope that that piece still comes into fruition as it was deemed very important.

“There were a lot of civil servants who did a lot of research and a lot of work and I would hate for that to go by the wayside.”

Government senator Kathy Simmons said that she had served as chair for the co-parenting council, adding that the PLP government is supporting it.

“We found that it was important to extend mediation beyond just co-parenting to the whole family,” she said.

“This is an initiative that has been embraced by this government.”

Ms Simmons also praised charities for their work to address women’s issues, adding that the Centre Against Abuse has received a grant to support their work.