Supporting women and children fleeing domestic and family violence requires more housing, not less super

Homelessness Australia Chair Jenny Smith. PHOTO: Council to Homeless Persons

Women and children can’t successfully flee domestic and family violence without access to housing they can afford, according to Homelessness Australia.

Last year more 53,922 women and girls experiencing family violence came to homelessness services needing accommodation and support to access housing. Of those, only 1 in 7 were able to be placed in medium or long-term accommodation; half received short-term accommodation; and over a third were unable to be provided with accommodation.

Homelessness Australia Chair, Jenny Smith, says that Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Federal Government must give top priority to safe and affordable housing when they are considering how best to support those fleeing violence.

‘Many women and children who miss out on accommodation or who receive only short-term accommodation, subsequently return to violent homes, rather than ending up on the street,’ Smith says.

‘Asking women escaping domestic violence to raid their superannuation, and in doing so putting them at greater risk of homelessness later in life, is not the answer. Rather, the Federal Government should be investing in social housing so women can rebuild their lives.

‘Right now women’s refuges are full and the long-term housing options women can afford are just not there. This creates a massive bottleneck in crisis accommodation, which means many women needing accommodation miss out.

‘The Federal Government has a great opportunity to step up right now and grow the amount of housing that is affordable to women fleeing violence.

‘What we are seeing instead is the Federal Government cutting income support payments making it harder for women fleeing violence to afford rent, as well as slashing $56 million from homelessness services so there will be less support for women when they escape violent homes.’

Key stats on women experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness.

  • 53,922 women and girls came to homelessness services needing accommodation while experiencing family violence.
  • 4,487 women and girls experiencing family violence received short-term accommodation.
  • 6,962 women and girls experiencing family violence received medium-term accommodation.
  • Just 911 women experiencing family violence received long-term accommodation.
  • 18,655 were unable to be provided with accommodation

Story source: Council to Homeless Persons

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