Safe and Equal welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the Inquiry into the Rental and Housing Affordability Crisis in Victoria. As the peak body for specialist family violence services, this submission will focus solely on Part 7 of the Terms of Reference, for which Safe and Equal holds relevant expertise, and will conclude with three priority recommendations.
The housing crisis in Victoria is putting enormous pressure on many people in the community – particularly those experiencing or at risk of family violence. The current lack of affordable housing options inhibits victim survivors’ safety and recovery as they continue to face uncertainty and the risk of homelessness when considering whether or not to leave abusive partners.
Homelessness and family violence are inextricably linked, with family violence the leading cause of homelessness for women and children in Australia. Homelessness as a result of family violence often leads to a lifetime of disadvantage, discrimination and poverty. This is particularly true for children, as research demonstrates that children who experience homelessness are more likely to experience homelessness as adults. All victim survivors of family violence deserve a safe place to call home, and the current housing affordability crisis is forcing victim survivors to choose between violence and homelessness.
While recommendations on how to manipulate the housing market to become more affordable is outside the scope of Safe and Equal’s expertise, we support calls to action related to this in the statement made by the Victorian Housing Peaks Alliance, of which Safe and Equal are a member. Within this submission, we have made recommendations to mitigate the effects of the housing affordability crisis on victim survivors of family violence to make the vision of all victim survivors of family violence having a safe place to call home a reality.