Domestic and family violence is a major driver of homelessness in Australia - particularly for women and their children. This position paper draws attention to the intersections between these issues, considers the evidence and puts forward recommendations for change.
The best way of preventing homelessness as a result of domestic and family violence is to prevent the violence from occurring in the first place. This requires cultural and systemic change to change individual and community attitudes on gender and violence.
When domestic and family violence does occur, it is important that the safety, recovery and wellbeing of those who have experienced domestic and family violence is supported and repeat violence is prevented through integrated services.
Responses that seek to prevent homelessness or intervene early for those who have experienced domestic and family violence are also required. This includes the expansion of safe at home programs and rapid rehousing options through a housing first model for victim-survivors who cannot or choose not to stay at home.
There are also different risks and experiences for different groups of people that experience domestic and family violence that require tailored policy responses. This includes children, young people; older women; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people; culturally and linguistically diverse women including those on temporary visas; people living in rural, regional and remote communities; people with disabilities; and male victim-survivors of violence.
There is not one simple answer and we need to work across sectors and silos, fund adequately and holistically and sustain the light of public attention to ensure that we prevent and address both violence and homelessness in the future.