Housing shortage putting victims at risk

A “chronic shortage” of safe and affordable housing is forcing some women attempting to escape family violence to return to violent partners, according to a study by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI).

The report, released last month, found that while emergency support services for those experiencing domestic and family violence (DFV) are effective and timely, the shortage of long-term housing is leaving many women and children at risk of homelessness or returning to a violent home.

DFV has been an issue in the Central Goldfields for a number of years, with the shire ranking fifth in the state for the highest rates of family violence reports between July 2017 and June 2018 according to the Crime Statistics Agency.

Maryborough District Health Service (MDHS) provides housing support services to local residents who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and the service’s Sue Bain said the issues raised in the report are reflected in Maryborough.

“Long term affordable housing, transitional and crisis accommodation fall short to meet the needs of many in the community of Maryborough,” she said.

“Due to the shortages for all types of accommodation, the MDHS Housing Support service has limited pathways for women and children accessing appropriate housing, which is an issue across the country as highlighted by the research undertaken by AHURI.

“This inability to access appropriate housing can mean that women and children may return to risky accommodation or leave the area which then decreases any social supports they may have during these difficult times.”

For more on this story see Page 5 of The Advertiser, Friday, May 17

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