This report makes up the first output of a research study entitled Homelessness prevention for women and children who have experienced domestic and family violence: Innovations in policy and practice. The purpose of this very specific project is to explore the value and implementation challenges of innovative staying at home homelessness prevention measures, such as Staying Home Leaving Violence schemes in Australia, and Sanctuary schemes in England and Wales.
Australia should expand the provision of homelessness prevention schemes that support domestic violence victims to remain in their own home rather leave the home in order to exit a violent relationship.
The most effective homelessness prevention schemes for women and children who have experienced domestic and family violence integrate legal issues, housing and welfare provision.
Effective implementation of homelessness prevention schemes requires both adequate funding and Australian jurisdictions addressing legal/judicial issues, housing and welfare policy in a coordinated fashion.
Improvements to the legal and judicial system include providing police powers to offer immediate protection to women by the removal of the perpetrator, consistent training for police on domestic and family violence, and specialist domestic and family courts.
Improved approaches to housing include using non-restrictive eligibility criteria to homelessness prevention programs so that women are not turned away or kept on a waiting list, private rental brokerage programs for women who have experienced family violence, and in home risk assessments to assist the client in deciding whether to remain in the home.
Improved approaches to welfare provision including better sharing of information between accredited agencies on domestic and family violence victims and perpetrators.
Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) 2011