This study examined the impact of housing and other support services on safety and wellbeing for families experiencing domestic and family violence. The study also reviewed the legislative framework across Australia, together with interviews with key stakeholders and users.
- The principal crisis response for women and children who have to leave their home due to violence is provided by the Specialist Homelessness Services system, yet data suggests that for many clients, there is little that services can do to provide a pathway from crisis into stable, secure and long-term accommodation.
- Existing DFV support programs cannot compensate for the absence of affordable, suitable housing—so moving from short-term or transitional accommodation into permanent, independent housing is very difficult, and sometimes unachievable, for women and children affected by DFV.
- Reliance on private rental market subsidies as a way to achieve housing outcomes is problematic in tight markets and such assistance cannot always successfully overcome other barriers like limited affordable supply and competition from other prospective tenants.
- Governments around Australia have adopted strategic responses to domestic and family violence that promote integrated service delivery for affected families.
- This integrated response to domestic and family violence is generally working well, promoting collaborative working relationships amongst services and providing support that is valued and appreciated by service users.
- For service users, a relationship with a skilled, capable and well-connected support worker is crucial, both therapeutically and for sustaining their engagement with support.
- Other areas of government policy, such as the income support system, can exacerbate poverty and disadvantage and make re-establishing stable housing more difficult for victims.
- Where safe, secure and affordable housing is not available, women may decide to return to a violent relationship because they perceive this as a safer option than the alternatives.
Without an adequate supply of affordable, suitable housing moving from short-term or transitional accommodation into permanent, independent housing is very difficult and sometimes unachievable. Dr Kathleen Flanagan, University of Tasmania.