Domestic Violence and Homelessness Links ‘Disturbing’ - Study
27 November 2012 at 9:26 am
New research has linked domestic violence and homelessness.
One in two women who leave an abusive relationship will return to live with the perpetrator, sometimes returning five or more times, new research has revealed.
The research into domestic violence and homelessness Reducing the Need for Women and Children to Make Repeated Use of Refuge and Other Crisis Accommodation was conducted by Swinburne University of Technology.
The Minister for Housing and Homelessness Brendan O’Connor and the Minister for the Status of Women Julie Collins released the study to coincide with White Ribbon Day.
The Ministers said the research showed the need for innovative models of intervention that allow women and their children to stay in the family home while keeping the perpetrator safely away.
Minister O’Connor said the results of the research were “truly disturbing”.
“In a wealthy and civilised nation like Australia, it is unacceptable that women have to return to an abusive home because the alternative is to sleep in their car with their kids,” O’Connor said.
“For some women, there is just not enough support for them to leave the family home, while for many, the prospect of being abused seems preferable to letting their children become homeless.”
The research investigated a number of innovative models across Australia and England which allow women and children who have experienced domestic violence to remain safely in their homes by excluding the perpetrator and providing a combination of housing, judicial and support services.
The research advocates for these early intervention and integrated services, but says there is inconsistent service provided in each location and calls for more services to be established nationally.
The authors of the report also call for collaboration between police and support workers to be a formal process and for a common risk assessment tool to be adopted throughout Australia to ensure consistency for women and children experiencing domestic violence .
“The government acknowledges that domestic and family violence continues to be a major driver of homelessness,” O’Connor said.
“The National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022 is a single, unified strategy that brings together government efforts to reduce violence against women, with a strong focus on prevention.”
Reducing the Need for Women and Children to Make Repeated Use of Refuge and Other Crisis Accommodation was funded through the Federal Government’s $11.4 million National Homelessness Research Agenda.