Domestic violence identified as main driver of rising rate of homeless women in Queensland

The rate of homeless women in Queensland is on the rise as a result of domestic violence as support services struggle to keep up with the demand for emergency housing, according to a support group.

Despite the 2015/2016 Queensland budget dedicating $136.8 million to tackling homelessness, including funding for crisis accommodation, some homelessness services have been forced to house women and children in hotels.

DV Connect chief executive officer Dianne Mangan said the increased publicity surrounding domestic violence had resulted in a spike in calls around Queensland as more women reached out for help.

"We have a very serious problem where people are being victimised and forced to leave their homes," Ms Mangan said.

DV Connect spent more than $153,000 on emergency accommodation last month alone, well above the budgeted figure of $40,000.

If we could work together to stem domestic violence we would greatly reduce the number of women coming to homelessness services.

Glenda Stevens, Homelessness Australia CEO

Homelessness Australia CEO Glenda Stevens said women featured strongly in the homeless population and the main driver was domestic violence.

"About 25 per cent of people coming to homelessness services are women and they are usually, unfortunately, accompanied by children," she said.

Ms Stevens said without sufficient housing options, homelessness services across Australia had no choice but to turn people away.

"Every day there is about 423 requests for support unable to be met by homelessness support services."

Ms Stevens said social issues must be addressed to reduce homelessness for women and children.

"If we could work together to stem domestic violence we would greatly reduce the number of women coming to homelessness services," she said.

"We must increase our financial support to services to make sure those people get the support they need to remain safe and not to have to return to a violent situation."

Homelessness in Queensland

  • Approximately 43,700 Queenslanders received specialist homeless services in 2013-14. Of these, 52 per cent were under 25 years of age
  • 55 per cent of all clients were female
  • Domestic and family violence was identified as a reason for seeking assistance by approximately 24 per cent of clients
  • 33 per cent were of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin
    Source: budget.qld.gov.au

Queensland Housing Minister Leanne Enoch said the Government had been working to provide more crisis accommodation.

"For 2015-2016 Budget we are funding 127 organisations who are providing, around the vicinity of 216 specialist homelessness services across Queensland," she said.

Ms Enoch said the Government was looking at different avenues to support people who found themselves in crisis.

"We've just leased 144 private rental properties from private rental markets across Queensland to help those need that short-term crisis housing," she said.

Ms Enoch said homelessness related to a variety of social issues including violence and addiction and there was no quick fix.

"You can't just say I'm just doing to deal with housing and that will sort everything out," she said.

Ms Enoch said homelessness was a complex issue and a holistic approach needed to be taken to tackle the issue.

In September, the Federal Government announced a $100 million Women's Safety package.

Federal Social Services Minister Christian Porter said the package focused on prevention, while promoting community awareness about domestic violence.

"The package will improve frontline support and services, leverage innovative technologies to keep women safe, and provide education resources to help change community attitudes to violence and abuse," Mr Porter said.

 

Source: ABC News

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