New statistics released today have revealed that a growing number of women, single parents and children are struggling with homelessness, due to family violence.
“There have been 116,419 cases of people accessing homelessness services across the country as a result of family violence,” said Homelessness Australia Chair, Jenny Smith.
The data was released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). It showed the number of people accessing Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) – who have experienced family and domestic violence – has jumped 46 per cent since 2011.
“A vicious cycle”
When Vicky Vacondios fled a domestic violence situation with her three children, she was forced to sleep in motels and emergency accommodation.
“Basically you end up in a very dark hole, so you leave one, dark negative situation, horrible situation, because of domestic violence but then you are re-entering another part of the world which is also a dark place as well because it’s also the unknown and you don’t have a place to call home anymore,” she told SBS.
“Quite sadly due to lack of housing as well, I basically relapsed and went back a few times to my ex-partner so I was what I’d call a vicious cycle up to about nine years in and out of that cycle.
“When there’s lack of housing you’re basically just stuck in a situation where you can’t do anything whatsoever.
No matter what other supports I was able to receive it didn’t make a difference to me because I didn’t have stability, I didn’t have a home that I could call my own with my children.
Jenny Smith from Homelessness Australia wants the Federal Government to address housing as a core component of support for family violence victims.
“Across Australia, there has been a consistent shortage of long term accommodation options for people accessing support.”
“This year, of all the family violence victims identified as needing long term housing, it was actually received by only three per cent.
“Without more social and affordable housing, women and children are put into motels or into crisis accommodation options such as refuges, for extended periods of time.
“We are not only letting down victims and survivors of domestic and family violence, but we are also letting down future generations of Australians who deserve to have a safe and stable home.
“Today’s data shows that right now, we’re leaving them stranded and without a home,” she says.
For Vicky, who was able to eventually find long-term accommodation, she says housing gave her her life back.
“Being able to achieve whatever it is we want to achieve and being happy and feeling safe and not being paranoid about who we’re going to live with or what’s going to happen next and just waiting for something bad to happen, we don’t have to have those feelings anymore.”