National Summit on Women’s Safety: Domestic violence, homelessness

Hundreds of domestic violence and homelessness groups have joined forces to urge the federal government to provide more safe and affordable social housing.

Domestic violence and homelessness groups are demanding a federal government commitment for more secure and affordable social housing in the lead-up to the National Summit on Women’s Safety.

Housing is only briefly mentioned in the agenda, but more than 230 organisations have signed a joint statement urging the summit to take a strong stand when it convenes later on Monday.

“(We are) concerned about the continuing toll of violence against women and lack of government action to provide safe homes,” the statement reads.

The federal government is being called upon to set a target to end homelessness for women, children and other survivors fleeing violence.

The commonwealth is also being urged to fix social security to protect victims from poverty, and deliver an adequate supply of housing in partnership with state and territory governments.

According to organisers of the national campaign Everybody’s Home, 7690 women return to perpetrators of violence every year because they have nowhere else to live.

Meanwhile, 9120 women become homeless every year after leaving due to domestic violence and being unable to secure long-term housing.

Among the signatories to the statement are the Australian Council of Social Service, National Shelter, Anglicare Australia, and the Australian Council of Trade Unions.

Everybody’s Home spokeswoman Kate Colvin said housing was vital to women’s safety.

“You simply can’t talk about women’s safety without talking about safe and affordable homes,” she said.

“Women and children in danger need a safe haven, and it is incumbent on the commonwealth government to address this crisis.”

Ms Colvin said 39,000 people go to homelessness services every year seeking long-term housing after experiencing domestic violence but 37,867 miss out.

“Thousands of women across Australia are currently having to choose between staying in a violent home and homelessness. That is unacceptable,” she said.

“Without further funding for social housing and an improvement in social security payments, the federal government cannot begin to address domestic violence in an adequate way.

“We need those changes to be made urgently.”

The summit will assist in developing the next national plan to end violence against women and children.

Experts, advocates, service providers and people with lived experience will be involved in the summit.

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