This research examines how housing support for vulnerable families can best be integrated with other forms of support to improve safety and wellbeing.
It reviewed the legislative framework, key documents, strategies, governance arrangements and major initiatives related to domestic and family violence (DFV) in each state and territory, together with interviews with policy, service delivery and industry stakeholders and users to better understand integration of support services. The proportion of Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) clients experiencing DFV has grown steadily from 32 per cent of all clients in 2012–13 to 40 per cent in 2016–17 (from 77,870 clients to 114,757 nationally).
This research found in most cases the immediate response to DFV is effective and timely, although constrained by resources and growing demand. The main challenge facing services and their clients is the lack of pathways by which women can move on from crisis and transitional responses into secure, long-term housing.
Refuges, shelters and transitional accommodation are vital immediate responses and provide valuable support for many families, but the lack of secure, affordable and permanent housing is a systemic issue. To meet the needs of vulnerable families, greater investment is needed in a range of affordable housing options that are planned and designed to be safe, secure and supportive as well as affordable in the long term. Pathways from crisis accommodation, including long term private rental options, social or affordable housing, or safe at home initiatives are required.