This study investigated the needs of Indigenous women and children who are severely over-represented in rates of domestic and family violence (DFV). Developing culturally appropriate responses to Indigenous DFV and improving integration between housing and DFV and child protection services should reduce rates of Indigenous women's injury and death, as well as rates of Indigenous children's out-of-home care.
Indigenous women and children have very limited housing pathways to choose from in the aftermath of domestic and family violence.
Acute shortages in crisis, transitional and long-term housing particularly in regional and remote locations mean Indigenous women and children are routinely turned away from refuges and safe houses because they are at capacity. In these circumstances they become trapped in a revolving door between crisis and transitional services, homelessness—often involving shelter with family/friends—or returning to an unsafe home. This is likely a key factor in the high rates of domestic and family violence-related injury and death amongst Indigenous women.
Whilst Governments around Australia have improved responses to domestic and family violence through law reforms and integrated service systems they still tend to adopt a one size fits all approach that fails to respond to the intersectionality of Indigenous women’s and children’s experiences with domestic and family violence.
The unintended consequences of limited housing pathways puts Indigenous women at significant risk of having their children removed by Child Protection. Reunification is also compromised if long-term stable housing cannot be secured within generally, a 12 month timeframe given current prescribed State and Territory legislative and policy time limits for transitioning children to permanent care.
Developing culturally appropriate responses to Indigenous domestic and family violence and improving integration between housing, domestic and family violence and child protection services should reduce rates of Indigenous women's injury and death, as well as rates of Indigenous children's out-of-home care.