Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2016) Domestic & family violence & homelessness 2011–12 to 2013–14, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 16 May 2022.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2016). Domestic & family violence & homelessness 2011–12 to 2013–14. Retrieved from https://pp.aihw.gov.au/reports/domestic-violence/domestic-family-violence-homelessness-2011-12-to-2013-14
Domestic & family violence & homelessness 2011–12 to 2013–14. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 03 February 2016, https://pp.aihw.gov.au/reports/domestic-violence/domestic-family-violence-homelessness-2011-12-to-2013-14
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Domestic & family violence & homelessness 2011–12 to 2013–14 [Internet]. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2016 [cited 2022 May. 16]. Available from: https://pp.aihw.gov.au/reports/domestic-violence/domestic-family-violence-homelessness-2011-12-to-2013-14
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2016, Domestic & family violence & homelessness 2011–12 to 2013–14, viewed 16 May 2022, https://pp.aihw.gov.au/reports/domestic-violence/domestic-family-violence-homelessness-2011-12-to-2013-14
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People experiencing domestic and family violence often require a wide range of support, and homelessness service agencies strive to provide these clients with the specialist services they require. These can range from accommodation provision, such as a bed in a shelter, to specialised facilities, such as domestic violence refuges. These services can either be provided by the presenting agency, or the client may be referred to another service agency. In some cases, services may not be provided or referred, and the client's needs goes unmet. This may be due to a lack of available resources, or an absence of support for specialised needs.
'General services' was the most identified need among clients who reported experiencing domestic and family violence to specialist homelessness services between 2011-12 and 2013-14, with almost all (95%) clients requesting this kind of assistance. 'General services' encompasses a wide range of services and may include family/relationship assistance, assistance for incest/sexual assault, legal information, and child care. For a full list of services that fall under 'general services', see the glossary. Almost all clients who requested general services were provided with them (over 99%).
Family and domestic violence clients were more likely than those not experiencing family and domestic violence to request accommodation services (Table 1). Where short term accommodation was requested, family and domestic violence clients were more likely to have that request met than other clients. Only 11% of requests for short term accommodation for those experiencing family and domestic violence were not met, compared with 26% for those not. This reflects the priority given to housing those fleeing from violence.
However, only 9% of clients who requested long term accommodation between 2011-12 and 2013-14 received it, with 48% of requesters referred to another agency, and 43% neither receiving a service nor being referred to another agency for this service.
Among clients who did not report experiencing domestic and family violence, 'general services' was also the most identified, by 9 in 10 clients between 2011-12 and 2013-14. Once identified, the majority of clients were provided with this service (98%).
The need for 'long term accommodation provision' was also the need least provided by specialist homelessness services over the three years to 2013-14. Only 8% of clients who requested this service received it, with a further 37% being referred to another agency and over half (56%) not being provided with this service nor being referred to another agency for this service.
Source: AIHW Specialist Homelessness Services Data Repository.
As their name would indicate, 'Domestic violence services' were one of the most requested services across all of the domestic and family violence cohorts. Around 4 in 5 women with children, older women and women from non-English speaking backgrounds, and around 7 in 10 young women presenting alone and Indigenous women, required these services. Most were provided with these services at the time of the request (Table 2).
Short term accommodation, such as that provided by shelters and boarding houses, was most frequently requested by Indigenous women (over 7 in 10). Males and young women presenting alone were also more likely than other groups examined to request short term accommodation (61% and 50% respectively). Indigenous women were the most likely to be accommodated, with 87% of these needs met. In general, short term accommodation needs were met in the majority of cases. However, young women presenting alone and men were the most likely to have their need for short term accommodation go unmet (16% for both groups).
Other services were less commonly provided, particularly long term accommodation provision. Males, Indigenous women and young women presenting alone were the most likely to request long term accommodation. As for clients overall, this need was only provided for around 10% of family and domestic violence clients between 2011 and 2014, with around half referred to another agency and many (between 40% and 47%) not provided with or referred to another agency for this service.
Drug and alcohol services were not often identified as being needed by women experiencing family and domestic violence. Around 1 in 10 Indigenous women, 9% of young women presenting alone and just 4% of women with children identified a need for drug or alcohol services. However, one-fifth (20%) of men experiencing family and domestic violence needed assistance to address problematic drug or alcohol use.
Legal and financial services were most frequently requested by women from non-English speaking backgrounds, with around 1 in 5 having this need identified.
While the vast majority of need for services such as 'general services' and 'domestic violence services' were met, there were certain provisions that were beyond the capacity of specialist homelessness service agencies to provide to clients.
For both SHS clients experiencing and clients not experiencing domestic and family violence, the highest proportion of services that were requested and went unmet, or were referred elsewhere, was 'long term accommodation provision' (91% and 93%, respectively). This illustrates the difficulty specialist homelessness services face in providing clients with accommodation other than short term or emergency accommodation in times of crisis. This lack of safe and stable accommodation may lead to increased cycling in and out of temporary accommodation, and a lack of 'settling down' of clients in one place.
Of all cohorts experiencing domestic and family violence, women with children were the most likely to have their needs provided when requesting services. This is likely to reflect the priority given to parents/carers who present to services with children.
To further understand the uniqueness of Indigenous women who are domestic and family violence clients, comparisons can be made with all non-Indigenous women who sought assistance for domestic and family violence. Interestingly, Indigenous women were much more likely over the three years to 2013-14 to request short term accommodation provision than non-Indigenous women (72% and 41%, respectively). This may be because, as research suggests, Indigenous Australians who are experiencing domestic violence may be more likely to use homelessness services as respite from the perpetrator, as they do not intend on leaving their home and community permanently .
Of all cohorts experiencing domestic and family violence, young women presenting alone and men were the least likely to have their needs for a range of services met. Young women presenting alone were the least likely of all the domestic and family violence cohorts examined to have requests for long term accommodation, specialist services and assistance to sustain housing tenure met.
Men were the most likely to have requests for domestic violence services and immigration/cultural services unmet. Both men and young women were least likely of all the domestic and family violence cohorts to have received short term accommodation where requested. This could be a reflection of service priorities, where individuals with children are prioritised over those without. These two groups are also the most likely to be living alone on presentation.
Young women presenting alone and men were also among the highest repeat users of specialist homelessness services, with young women receiving an average of 3 support periods and men receiving an average of 3.4 support periods over the three years to 2013-14. Young women presenting alone also had the highest proportion of couch surfers on presentation (43%), and men were the most likely to be sleeping rough (15%). At the end of the 3 years examined, only 48% of young women and 38% of men were housed in either private rental or social housing. Combined, these data indicate that young women presenting alone and men who seek assistance from specialist homelessness services due to domestic and family violence had the least housing stability from 2011-12 to 2013-14, perhaps due to limited availability within specialist homelessness services to cater to their needs.
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