Statement on Housing for Women’s Safety

Statement on Housing for Women’s Safety

The undersigned organisations are concerned about the continuing toll of violence against women, and lack of Government action to provide safe homes, so women and children can escape violence and rebuild their lives.

Failing to include housing for women’s safety on the Agenda at the National Summit on Women’s Safety highlights the lack of focus on this critical issue. You simply can’t talk about women’s safety without talking about safe and affordable homes.

Domestic and family violence is the biggest cause of homelessness for women and children, and an estimated:

  • 7,690 women a year return to perpetrators due to having nowhere to live
  • 9,120 women a year become homeless after leaving their homes due to domestic and family violence and being unable to secure long-term housing. 

We call on the Government to address access to safe and affordable housing in the successor National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children, by:

  • setting a target to end homelessness for women and children and other victim survivors fleeing violence, and
  • investing to deliver an adequate supply of new social and affordable housing, in partnership with state and territory governments, to meet the need for safe and affordable homes from women and children and other victim survivors fleeing violence
  • Fix social security to protect women and children from poverty and homelessness

In Australia each year 39,000 people come to homelessness services seeking long term housing after experiencing domestic and family violence. Of those, 37,867 miss out on long term housing. 

And we know this is not the full scale of the crisis. Many tens of thousands more women stay in a violent home because they have nowhere to go.

Every day, lack of access to safe homes is putting women and children at continued risk of violence. It prevents them recovering and rebuilding their lives. The housing shortfall puts refuges and crisis accommodation under serious pressure, as women stay for extended periods because they cannot exit to permanent homes.

Women and children, and other victim survivors, who experience discrimination and marginalisation, including First Nations women, women with disabilities, women in prison, migrant and refugee women, and LGBTIQ people are most at risk because of lack of access to housing. 

Acute shortages of safe accommodation and housing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children experiencing domestic and family violence contributes to the high rates of domestic and family violence-related injury and death amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, and to high rates of child removal. 

Providing safe and affordable homes is critical to the safety of women experiencing violence. Australia cannot claim to be serious about women’s safety until women can access safe homes.