Safe and Equal welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the National Housing and Homelessness Plan. As the peak body for specialist family violence services in Victoria, and given that family violence is the leading cause of homelessness for women and children in Australia, this submission focuses on the inextricable link between family violence and homelessness, and how the government can reduce homelessness for adult and child victim survivors in Australia.
The housing affordability crisis is increasing demand on specialist family violence services and is ultimately costly for the service system and those who use it. Specialist family violence services in Victoria report that one of the top patterns and trends amongst re-presenting clients is a lack of safe and affordable housing, with nearly 80% of services reporting that repeat clients are common. For other areas of the service system, it can be difficult to provide quality support to victim survivors and their children if they do not have a safe or reliable place to call home.
The absence of housing heightens a victim survivor’s chance of becoming stuck in the family violence system. Family violence accommodation services in Victoria record longer case management support periods than other Victorian family violence services.
If victim survivors of family violence could be housed quickly, in safe and affordable housing, a significant amount of homelessness would cease to exist. To make this happen, we require robust connections between the Commonwealth Government’s National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children 2022-2023, this National Housing and Homelessness Plan, and strong reform to the areas as covered within this submission. We call for the bold and visionary planning and investment required to meaningfully address – and end – family violence and homelessness across the country in one generation.