considers the importance of providing adequate long-term support for victims of
domestic violence, beyond the immediate crisis response services discussed in
chapter 8. The committee heard there is a need to provide 'maintenance and
stability' for victims through 'wraparound services'. Witnesses
also highlighted that wraparound services should include appropriate financial
and trauma counselling for victims and their families as well as addressing
longer-term housing needs.
The need for long term
A number of submissions
emphasised the need for long term support for victims and their families to
avoid crisis support services becoming a 'revolving door'. For example, the Victorian State-wide Children's
Resource Program argued:
for families should not be episodic; rather families who have experienced
family violence require long term support. Current support is focussed on
crisis, and resource constraints mean that often the more high risk cases
receive support. Once the immediate crisis is over, women need support with
education and training to be able to enter employment. They also need support
with parenting, access to health and wellbeing programs and therapeutic
support. Due to resource constraints services must cease support when families
are 'stable' and often this is when families need support the most. This
contributes to the 'revolving door' which is far less cost effective than
providing the appropriate support to a family.
Health in the South East supported this view:
support services are not adequately funded and are over capacity which results
in women entering a 'revolving door,' being provided with the bare minimum
support rather than a holistic wraparound approach which is needed.
Wilson, Executive Director, Domestic Violence Crisis Service (DVCS), emphasised
the importance of giving victims 'maintenance and security' over the long-term,
which would help them avoid needing crisis services again:
that we are not looking out for [victims of domestic violence] for a long
enough period. That is where programs or services must look at the broad
spectrum. There are different stages, and you need to do prevention, early
intervention and crisis response. Then there is also maintenance and stability.
It is the maintenance and stability that, if not well resourced, funded and
looked out for, will tip people back into crisis.
Ms Wilson described
how the issues faced by victims can compound over time if they do not receive
long-term support and how this can lead to victims re-entering crisis services
or becoming homeless:
are often] left to cope with everything, including the financial stuff. The
mortgage may or may not be getting paid, the private rent may or may not be
getting paid, particularly if [a perpetrator] chooses not to do that once he
has been removed. The children [are] traumatised and she is unable to work and
sustain her employment, if that is what she had. Her employer may or may not
understand her circumstances and there may be ongoing mental and physical
health issues, depending on whether there are injuries or ongoing mental health
associated with that. So what we know and what we have found is that women will
stay and try to manage all of these things, living alone with the children.
About nine months down the track, she cannot then sustain it and either returns
to the violent relationship or tips into secondary homelessness, at which point
the domestic violence is seen to be in the distant past and is no longer a
reason for her homelessness.
Oberin, Chairperson, Australian Women Against Violence Alliance (AWAVA), commented
there was a need to integrate the immediate crisis response with longer-term
support services, citing recent research:
the best outcomes occur when women and children have their immediate needs met
and where there is long-term support available. [This research calls] for three
things. Immediate refuge accommodation for all women and children. At the
moment, 60 per cent on any given day are turned away from refuge or emergency
accommodation. The second thing they ask for is secure long-term housing, and
the third is ongoing outreach support over 12 months, which will increase
the safer and better outcomes for those women and children, decrease the risk
and decrease the recurrence of the violence happening.
Ms Oberin noted
this model would not only deliver more effective outcomes than the 'crisis-driven
model' currently being used, it would halve the cost for government:
research] found that currently women enter the system seven times and it costs
$53,279.07 per woman. They often return to a violent partner due to no
affordable or safe housing being available and insufficient supports being
available. [The research is] arguing that a best practice model would see that
woman entering the system once, costing $29,825.56, and being able to access
safe and affordable housing. Also as part of the costing, if the system is
working properly it will reduce refuge stay to 14 days rather than the current
average of about three months. There are no exit points from refuge. That is
why 60 per cent on any given day are being turned away.
heard how 'wraparound' support could provide an enhanced model of services for victims
and their families, which would give them 'maintenance and stability' as they
rebuilt their lives following violent episodes.
Williams, Chair, ACT Domestic Violence Prevention Council (ACT DVPC),
highlighted that services are being overwhelmed simply by meeting the immediate
needs of victims and they are often not able to offer longer term wraparound
notes that the Second Action Plan's National Priority 3 – 'Supporting
innovative services and integrated systems' recognises the importance of
delivering wraparound support, and outlines the types of services for victims
and their families that would be strengthened under the second phase of the
Effective wrap-around support to women and their children who
experience, or are at risk of violence is also very important. This means
ensuring collaboration between the police, domestic and family violence and
sexual assault services, housing and homelessness services, child protection,
health and mental health services, income support and financial management
support (such as income management), perpetrator interventions and programmes
and, where necessary, cultural support services.
received evidence about how domestic and family violence often affects a
victim's financial security. Ms Marcia Williams, Chair, ACT
DVPC, highlighted how victims of domestic and family violence often need help managing
their finances after leaving abusive relationships:
more we are seeing women in poverty in the ACT, and the majority of those are
around domestic violence. Financial counselling is another aspect. When they
have been in these situations, often they do not know how to manage money and
they do not have access to money. They really need a lot of support around
getting out of the debts that are often incurred in their own names but on
behalf of their partners.
emphasised that many victims could easily slip into crisis housing or
homelessness because of financial pressures, regardless of whether they had
stayed in their own home or were in a rental property:
[The ACT DVCS]
that looked at the women who they had been seeing over a number of years that
had stayed in their own homes. The same thing is true of those who went into
rental homes after exiting crisis support or straight into it. 54.6 per cent of
the homeowners and 62.5 per cent of the families in private rentals lost their
home after 12 months because they did not have that financial support to
maintain them. So we are just causing the next lot of homelessness because we
don't have programs in place that support their financial sustainability...Many
women are finding that their finances are so tied up and it is such a long time
to work through those things—whether it is a housing issue, or whether it is
bills of the sorts of debts that are incurred often on behalf of the men—it is
causing a whole lot of financial issues that are causing them into homelessness
when they have previously not been. 
Information submitted financial counselling services should be integrated with
other services for victims of domestic and family violence who were remaining
in their own home, as research showed:
importance of legal advice and support around property matters in achieving
optimum financial outcomes for women. Policy reform which allows access to this
advice through Legal Aid and community legal services for women who have a
history of financial abuse would have a significant impact on their financial
counselling for victims and their families
highlighted the need for victims of domestic and family violence to be given
adequate trauma counselling, not only following violent events, but also over
the longer term.
Williams, in her capacity as Executive Director, Women's Centre for Health
Matters, highlighted that recent cuts to services had reduced the amount of
ongoing support available for victims of domestic violence, including trauma
the things that we really find in the ACT for the really complex cases for
women with mental health issues from long-term trauma is things like the day
refuges that were provided by services like Inanna, as well as others that have
now disappeared. So they are not getting that ongoing support, some of that
counselling and some of those linkages and social interactions. A lot of those
sorts of things are not being delivered because the cuts have cut those out.
Paterson, Chief Executive Officer, Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance
Northern Territory (AMSANT),
told the committee there was a particular lack of counselling services in
remote and regional communities in the Northern Territory:
of violence are traumatic, and unresolved trauma can compound, with effects
accumulating with impacts on individuals, families, and the broader community
and society. Currently in the Northern Territory there is little to no support
available to individuals suffering high levels of loss and grief. Mental health
and counselling services are overstretched or unavailable, especially in remote
areas. The inadequacy or lack of appropriate services to deal with family
violence and related issues, particularly in remote areas, is one of the most
received evidence there needs to be greater attention given to providing support
to children who have witnessed domestic violence, as they are at increased risk
of suffering developmental, behavioural and mental health issues later in life,
as well as having a higher risk of suffering or perpetrating domestic and
family violence themselves.
submitted that 75 per cent of the victims from domestic and family violence are
children and therefore:
absence of readily available, targeted support for child victims, levels will
remain unacceptably high and will continue to transfer from generation to
Stanford, Chief Executive Officer, Canberra Rape Crisis Centre, highlighted the
potential effects of the current shortage of services for children, including
of support and appropriate specialist services for children who are living in
domestic violence creates a vulnerability that can mean a child will go on to
experience sexual assault and domestic violence across their whole lifetime.
Community Services for Women stressed that children affected by domestic and
family violence need to access counselling separately from their parents:
require individual counselling, group therapy or other evidence-based interventions to rebuild relationships but also to
prevent future vulnerability to youth homelessness and/or becoming victims or perpetrators of violence themselves.
The committee was interested in innovative models that deliver specialised
services to address the needs of victims of domestic and family violence from
Regarding victims from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD)
communities, the inTouch Multicultural Centre against Family Violence (inTouch)
outlined a model it developed to deliver services to victims of domestic and
family violence from multicultural communities:
We developed it around five main headings: family violence in
CALD communities, barriers to legal services, support for CALD children
experiencing family violence, access and equity for women without permanent
residency, and tailored responses versus the one-size-fits-all approach.
InTouch noted that mainstream services could 'provide only superficial
response to diverse communities' and highlighted the value of tailored service
Responses that will have long-term sustainable outcomes for
CALD communities have to be designed based on a needs analysis and extensive
community engagement. While this approach seems to be resource intense, high
initial investment prevents clients from re-entering the system and ensures
long-term sustainability. 
The committee also heard there is a need to foster specialised
services for LGBTI victims of domestic violence, as they face social and
cultural issues that could not be fully addressed by mainstream services. Mr
Daniel Stubbs, Director, Inner City Legal Centre, commented that:
We also need a range of recovery programs for people who are
experiencing domestic violence. It is important that they are targeted for
LGBTI people. Just like you would not put a gay perpetrator in a program for
straight perpetrators—I do not think that would be appropriate—there are also a
whole lot of issues where you might run group therapy work for only gay or
lesbian people or transgender men and women. We think that is really important
Mr Alan Brotherton, Aids Council of New South Wales, noted that
mainstream services could not always address the needs of communities,
including LGBTI individuals. Among other example, he highlighted the lack of
specialist services for elderly LGBTI Australians:
It would be fair to say that we have not had sufficient
experience of specialist services that meet the needs of the elderly LGBTI
people, to know what it is that works and works well and to be able to
incorporate that into a mainstream service. That is taking the optimistic view
that you can incorporate those into a mainstream service.
Ms Keran Howe, Executive Director, Woman with Disabilities Victoria,
highlighted to the committee that mainstream services should play a central
role for victims of domestic violence, but that specialised services should
cater for particular groups:
Our view in general is that mainstream domestic violence
services and sexual assault services should have carriage of the issue, but
there do need to be tailored responses for groups that have particular needs.
We also need to draw on the expertise of different areas as the need arises.
Ms Howe drew the committee's attention to some programs delivering
services that played an essential role in supporting women with disabilities
who had experienced domestic and family violence:
We have identified examples of specialist work, such as a
referral program from the Independent Third Person, where we do need additional
resources. Making Rights Reality is another program in Victoria where there is
a specialised sexual assault response to women with cognitive disabilities or
women with communication difficulties. They have had more tailored case
management from both legal advisers and counsellor advocates in the sexual
assault services, and this has been found to be more effective in getting women
to the court at all, let alone having successful prosecutions.
the inquiry, the availability of housing was raised as a critical issue
affecting victims of domestic violence, whether they chose to leave the family
home or remain in the house.
importance of affordable and suitable housing
outlined the central role that affordable housing can play in helping victims
to leave abusive relationships and get their lives back on track over the
and children leaving violence within their homes, access to affordable housing,
including public and social housing, is critical to their being able to re-establish
lives post violence...The availability of appropriate accommodation is a
central factor in many women's decisions about whether or not to leave a
violent situation, particularly the cost of alternative accommodation, safety,
location and tenure.
Australia described the 'vicious cycle' that was created by the lack of
combination of a lack of housing affordability and violence against women forms
a vicious cycle. The lack of appropriate affordable housing decreases the
likelihood of women successfully leaving violent relationships and contributes
to the high levels of homelessness among women who have experienced violence.
The struggle to find suitable accommodation impacts on the health and wellbeing
of women and children already dealing with health and trauma issues arising
Ms Fiona McCormack, Chief
Executive Officer, Domestic Violence Victoria (DV Victoria), observed that
women in violent situations sometimes do not have the financial means to live
independently, due to the high cost of accommodation.
Even victims who remain in their own home after separation from an abusive
partner face significant financial pressures, as Women's Legal Services Inc.
in the private rental or mortgaged family home may not be sustainable as women simply
cannot afford the rental / mortgage payments. Remaining in the family home may
be unsafe, due to the perpetrator's knowledge of the location and the property
itself. Invariably domestic violence, along with all relationship breakdowns
increases the demand for affordable accommodation for single parent families.
The committee heard that the lack of affordable longer-term housing options
for victims of domestic and family violence means women and their children need
to remain in crisis accommodation for a much longer period which in turn
results in the lack of availability of crisis accommodation. Ms Angela Lynch, Community Legal Education Lawyer,
Women's Legal Service, confirmed that women are women are remaining in
refuges for long periods of time as there are no other accommodation options.
Ms Rosie Batty
pointed out that where there is a wait to get into a refuge, rather than turn
people away, some women are put up in a motel, the cost of which is absorbed by
that crisis refuge service. She also spoke about purpose built refuges she
visited in Adelaide where women are safe and there is a specialised response,
in contrast to other models of crisis accommodation where victims of domestic
and family violence can find themselves alongside people who are homeless for a
variety of other reasons.
The Office of the
Public Advocate submitted that women with disabilities faced particular
difficulties in finding appropriate longer term accommodation if they could not
stay in their own home:
Finding suitable housing was difficult for some women,
particularly if a woman's disability did not exactly fit into service criteria
and requirements. The lack of alternative and appropriate accommodation was
problematic for both shorter-term crisis situations and longer-term/permanent
housing. Most Victorian crisis refuges and transitional accommodation are not
built according to universal design standards and are therefore inaccessible to some women with disabilities.
highlighted the importance of Safe at Home programs that support women to remain
in their own homes.
Relevant Commonwealth programs
Commonwealth has a number of programs relating to homelessness and housing
affordability that are relevant to domestic and family violence issues. The
committee heard that, since the launch of the National Plan in 2010, some of
these programs have faced budget cuts and funding uncertainty.
homelessness as a key issue for victims of domestic violence, the National Plan
stated the Commonwealth would work in conjunction with states and territories
spending on homelessness services by 55 per cent as a substantial initial
investment on a 12-year reform agenda;
supply of affordable housing through the National Rental Affordability Scheme
(NRAS) and the Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan;
additional emergency relief and financial counselling services until mid-2011
to support Australians through difficult times; and
specialist homelessness projects across our housing programs, to provide more
than 1680 new units of accommodation.
Commonwealth has a framework to address homelessness with the states and
territories, the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH). The
National Plan states that:
2013-14 National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH), around 180
homelessness initiatives receive funding to assist both those who are homeless
and those at risk of homelessness across Australia. Of these 180 homelessness
initiatives, 39 contribute to support services for women and children
experiencing domestic and family violence.
since the launch of the National Plan in 2010 there have been changes to government
funding for the housing and homelessness sector, including funding arrangements
for NPAH and the cessation of NRAS, which will be discussed in turn.
Funding uncertainty for the
National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness
originally a four-year program running from 2009 to 2013. It was extended by
one year in both the 2013-14 and 2014-15 Commonwealth Budgets and further
extended from 2015 to 2017 on 23 March 2015.
extension had been announced, many submissions to this inquiry expressed dismay
that the NPAH was due to expire on 30 June 2015.
For example, Ms Fiona McCormack, DV Victoria, outlined the importance of
funding received under NPAH for programs that helped women stay in their own
homes, where it was safe to do so:
NPAH, the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness, we were able to
invest in initiatives that supported women to remain in the home through a
range of different mechanisms—either by supporting change of locks and
tightening security measures; or brokerage funds to either address debt or
provide advocacy in relation to addressing some of the debt issues; or
brokerage funds to just get them over the hump of what might be a backlog in
payments in relation to mortgage or rent. So we are really very concerned about
the future of the NPAH funding. This has been really critical. We are concerned
about what that means in the future.
Women's Health in the North, also outlined some examples of the crucial programs
NPAH funds that help victims of domestic violence:
It is absolutely critical that funding for family violence
services under the NPAH is renewed...Loss or reduction in this funding would
directly affect the safety of women and children escaping family violence...Many
innovations funded under [the NPAH] are local, smart and focus on early
intervention, including afterhours responses to women and children responding
to women have just been assaulted and the Safe at Home program, which supports
women (and their children) to remain in their own homes and have the
perpetrator leave, where it is safe to do so.
The National Family Violence Prevention Legal Services (NFVPLS)
highlighted how NPAH was a particularly important vehicle to deliver assistance
to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women:
One in ten Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women used a
specialist homelessness service in 2012-2013...The NPAH provides crucial services
and support to homeless people, with some FVPLSs units receiving funding under
the agreement. For example, FVPLS Victoria is funded for two frontline
positions. These positions assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
victims/survivors of family violence and sexual assault with case management
and court support when they are escaping violence.
Witnesses commented on the need for NPAH funding to be put on a more
reliable footing, so relevant organisations can resource and plan effectively.
For instance, Ms Libby Eltringham, Community Legal Worker, Domestic Violence
Resource Centre Victoria, told the committee:
I think one of the big barriers to women trying to safely
escape violence is one safe and affordable housing...The continuity of that, the
security of tenure, the NPA[H] is only a year's commitment in advance and there
really needs to be much more security of funding and ongoing rolling recurrent
funding for organisations to be able to work safely with women. 
Cuts to the National Rental
The NRAS is a partnership between the Commonwealth and the states and
territories that encourages investment in affordable rental housing. The
Department of Social Services' website states:
The Scheme, which commenced in 2008, seeks to address the
shortage of affordable rental housing by offering financial incentives to
persons or entities such as the business sector and community organisations to
build and rent dwellings to low and moderate income households at a rate that
is at least 20 per cent below the market value rent.
In the 2014-15 Commonwealth Budget the government announced it would not
be proceeding with Round 5 of NRAS, which would result in savings of $235.2 million
over three years.
This means the building of a further 15,000 dwellings will not be supported by
Evidence received by the committee called for NRAS to be reinstated.
The Women's Centre for Health Matters submitted the defunding of NRAS was:
...a very unsettling development [that] will certainly have
impacts on the security and safety of Australian individuals and families who
are seeking to escape violence.
The submission made by the National Foundation for Australian Women
called for NRAS to be expanded, citing its positive effects on the housing
The National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) is a critical
component of this investment in increasing the stock of affordable housing.
NRAS aims to grow affordable rental housing stock by offering financial
incentives to build and rent dwellings to low and moderate income households at
least 20 per cent below the market rate. This has proven to be a critical
program supporting investment, especially by the social and community housing
The NFVPLS submitted that the cessation of NRAS would increase pressure
on the availability of emergency accommodation, including for Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander families escaping domestic violence:
Defunding of the [NRAS] will worsen the housing crisis and
decrease housing options for victims of family violence. It will also increase
pressures on homeless shelters, which are already struggling to keep up with
the demand. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, in particular, face
discrimination in the housing market with higher birth rates creating the need
for four or five bedroom homes, which are in short supply.
Addressing the effects of alcohol
In Chapter 1 the committee acknowledged alcohol as a contributing factor
to domestic violence. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has found strong
links between alcohol abuse and the incidence and severity of domestic and
family violence in many countries.
WHO argued alcohol abuse is linked to domestic and family violence in several
Alcohol use directly affects cognitive and physical function,
reducing self-control and leaving individuals less capable of negotiating a
non-violent resolution to conflicts within relationships.
Excessive drinking by one partner can exacerbate financial
difficulties, childcare problems, infidelity or other family stressors. This
can create marital tension and conflict, increasing the risk of violence
occurring between partners.
Individual and societal beliefs that alcohol causes
aggression can encourage violent behaviour after drinking and the use of alcohol
as an excuse for violent behaviour.
Experiencing violence within a relationship can lead to alcohol
consumption as a method of coping or self-medicating.
Children who witness violence or threats of violence between
parents are more likely to display harmful drinking patterns later in life.
The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) submitted that
in Australia in 2011, there were 29,684 incidents of alcohol-related domestic
and family violence reported to police in the four jurisdictions where data was
FARE also stated this data showed that the problem was getting worse in three
of these jurisdictions, with the number of alcohol-related incidents of domestic
and family violence reported to police annually increasing from previous years.
In addition, FARE highlighted other statistics indicating there is a
marked correlation between alcohol and the incidence and severity of domestic
and family violence in Australia:
Alcohol is involved in between 23 per cent and 65 per cent of
family violence incidents reported to police, and from 2002-03 to 2011-12,
36 per cent of perpetrators of intimate partner homicides had used
Alcohol abuse and domestic and
family violence in regional and remote communities
The need for and provision of long term support services for alcohol
abuse in regional and remote communities was highlighted to the committee.
For example, Mr Joe Morrison, Chief Executive Officer, Northern Land
Council, told the committee that:
The impact of alcohol cannot be overstated as a contributor
to family violence. In August 2013 APO NT [Aboriginal Peak Organisations
Northern Territory] brought together a large group of Aboriginal people and
organisations for two grog summits, one in Darwin and another in Alice Springs.
[The final report stated]:
Further, although alcohol consumption in the Northern
Territory has fallen in recent years, it is still much too high compared with
that of other Australians. Between 2006 and the end of the 2011-2012 financial
year, it declined from 15.5 litres of pure alcohol to around 13.5 litres a
year. That’s about 1,170 green cans (VB full-strength) a year for everyone aged
fifteen and over. The Australian average is 10 litres of pure alcohol, equal to
about 870 green cans. People in the NT are still drinking a lot more than other
Australians, and much too much for their own good, and for the good of their
Ms Melanie Warbrooke, Acting Managing Solicitor, Top End Women's Legal
Service, reported that the effects of alcohol abuse were particularly evident
in remote communities:
With where we are at the moment, we see it more in the town
camps. I go out to Knuckey Lagoon and Palmerston Indigenous Village, which are
small multigroup areas with people from quite a few of the remote communities
who are amalgamated into one. There are lots of problems with alcohol abuse in
particular that lead to aggression and violence. Regularly you will go out
there and see a house that has been quite neat and tidy the week before that is
completely trashed with cars smashed up and people who have basically gone to
live somewhere else for a while because they want to hide. There is lots of
family infighting as well.
Witnesses stressed the need to reduce the availability and harmful use
of alcohol in Indigenous communities.
Witnesses also highlighted the lack of alcohol rehabilitation services
available in remote areas, which made it hard for people in remote communities
to seek help. Dr David Cooper, Research, Advocacy and Policy Manager,
Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT), indicated:
Obviously, one of the concerns in the Territory is the lack
of alcohol services that are available—particularly in remote areas—lack of
rehabilitation services and alcohol services of various types. At the same time
we have a regime in the Northern Territory of alcohol mandatory treatment which
we have great concerns about. It is a non-evidence based approach and it is
also an approach that uses a lot of resources that could be better deployed to
evidence based treatment around alcohol and other drugs issues....We [also] have
some concerns at the moment about the lack of expansion of [AMSANT's alcohol
and other drug programs incorporated into delivery of Aboriginal primary health
care]. In fact, in this recent round there are some indications that we have
lost some key alcohol and other drug positions, particularly servicing remote
areas. There are also other related services, such as CAAPS, that deliver a
broad range of alcohol programs to communities, and we have seen cuts that have
affected those kinds of programs. In the context of the importance of alcohol
and other drugs issues in relation to domestic and family violence, these are
very concerning areas of cuts.
Mr John Paterson, Chief Executive Officer, AMSANT, suggested to the
committee that funding of 'alcohol and other drugs, social and emotional
wellbeing and mental health' be relocated back under the Department of Health
portfolio instead of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Mr Paterson
explained the transfer of oversight for these services away from the Department
of Health, which has expertise in these areas:
...defeats the whole purpose of developing, implementing and
monitoring a comprehensive service model for those who need those very
important programs and services. The sooner it gets back under the Health
portfolio the better; and the best chance of us getting those outcomes we all
aspire to achieve.
A key theme
of this inquiry has been the need for crisis services to be supplemented by
programs that support victims of domestic and family violence over the long
term as they rebuild their lives, as well as the lives of their families.
heard that services for victims of domestic and family violence are still
largely focused on crisis. However, the committee heard that following the
crisis, many victims have little option but to return to violent situations or
run the risk of becoming homeless, as they have little support with their long-term
financial, emotional and accommodation needs.
notes that delivering effective wraparound services is one way that governments
can facilitate an enhanced model of victim services that can provide greater maintenance
and stability as they recover from the effects of domestic violence.
As well as the benefits for victims and their families, it appears
effective wraparound services would also reduce costs for governments over the
long term, particularly where it succeeds in preventing the 'revolving door'
use of crisis services by victims, and where it contributes to breaking the
cycle of intergenerational domestic violence.
notes that the Second Action Plan recognises the importance of
delivering wraparound support, and outlines the types of services for victims
and their families that would be strengthened under the second phase of the
also notes that the Second Action Plan indicates the government is committed to
improving wraparound services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women
and their children.
sees the provision of safe and affordable long-term housing as an area in which
the Commonwealth can make a positive contribution. For victims leaving violent
situations, finding emergency and long-term accommodation for themselves and
their families is a critical step towards rebuilding their lives. Similarly,
victims who choose to remain in their own homes following violent incidents
should be supported appropriately, where it is safe to do so.
The committee welcomes the recent
extension of the NPAH from 2015 to 2017, as it provides some funding certainty
for organisations helping victims of domestic and family violence to find emergency and long-term
committee notes the 2015-16 Commonwealth Budget made it clear that priority
will be given to services working with victims of domestic violence:
The Government recognises that domestic violence is a leading
cause of homelessness and will ensure that funding priority is given to those
service providers who are assisting women and children who are homeless or at
risk of homelessness and affected by domestic violence.
The committee understands that long-term funding arrangements and the
respective roles of the Commonwealth and state and territory governments in
addressing housing and homelessness will be considered in the context of the
government's White Paper on Reform of the Federation.
The committee recognises the importance of the provision and
availability of supportive housing models to assist victims of domestic and
family violence to find safety for themselves and their children. The committee
recommends that the Commonwealth Government should play a lead role in
identifying programs that could be implemented across the country, and in
ensuring that specialist and 'wrap around' support services have access to
dedicated, secure funding.
The committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government, through COAG,
facilitate the evaluation of existing legal measures and support programs that
facilitate the removal of perpetrators of domestic and family violence from the
family home so that victims many remain safely at home. If those legal measures
are found to be successful, that the Commonwealth encourage all states to adopt
nationally consistent 'ouster order' laws and support programs.
Longer-term funding for services
wishes to draw attention to the need for longer term funding certainty in the
sector which is so important to build capacity, expertise and to enable proper
planning for people and resources.
As well as current ongoing work on the future funding of housing and
homelessness indicated above, the committee notes the need for longer term
funding certainty has been recognised as part of the Department of Social
Services grants process, which will allow for longer term grant agreements,
where appropriate, to offer certainty in service delivery.
long term effort required to address domestic and family violence the committee
would see value in governments funding relevant services using a multi-year
approach to reduce the level of uncertainty and allow adequate future planning
for the sector.
The committee recognises the long term effort required to address domestic
and family violence and recommends that the current Commonwealth short-term
funding arrangements should be extended to a multi-year approach to reduce the
level of uncertainty for services and to allow for adequate future planning in
The committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government take a lead
role in the provision of affordable housing solutions in Australia to meet
long-term needs for those made homeless by domestic and family violence and in
order to address the backlog of victims who cannot access affordable housing
which stakeholders have identified during the inquiry.
Addressing the effects of alcohol
The committee acknowledges the strong evidence base relating to the
effect of alcohol and family violence incidents and is particularly concerned
about statistics showing the increasing number of alcohol-related incidents of domestic
and family violence reported to police in several jurisdictions.
The committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government consider the
framework developed by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE)
as part of the cross–jurisdictional work it is leading through COAG to ensure
the development of an integrated and focused effort to reduce the role of
alcohol as a contributing factor in cases of domestic violence.
Alcohol abuse and domestic and
family violence in regional and remote communities
The committee acknowledges the need for services to address alcohol
abuse which can be a contributing factor to family violence. The committee was
particularly concerned to hear the evidence from the Northern Territory about
the scale of the problem in some remote Indigenous communities, as highlighted
by APO NT's grog summit report.
The committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government work with the
states and territories to improve the availability of alcohol rehabilitation
services, including culturally appropriate services for those living in
regional and remote Indigenous communities.
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