Brutal reality of the crisis facing fleeing DV victims
VICTIMS of domestic violence fleeing violent partners are at risk of becoming homeless without more crisis housing in Queensland, the head of Brisbane's DV Service says.domestic violence
Micah Projects Brisbane Domestic Violence Service chief executive Karyn Walsh said some women cannot stay at refuges when trying to leave relationships but a shortage of affordable housing means they have nowhere to go once they are in a position to create a new life.
"Not all women can go to refuge, they want to be where their family is and they want their children to remain at school, so they still do need safe housing (in the interim)," she said. "We need crisis accommodation that gives people a pathway to secure housing. A lot of people want to stay in their community and we've got to create housing pathways that enable them to relocate within the same town or city.
"A lot of women, once they've left a relationship, they don't have two incomes, and they need affordability and security when they get past the crisis point."
She said many women don't leave unsafe situations because they are afraid they will have nowhere to go.
Sisters Inside CEO Debbie Kilroy said there is "absolutely not enough" crisis housing or long-term affordable housing, and the lack of options results in many women returning to their violent partner.
"I had a young 19-year-old ring me [on Saturday] who was being held in Bunnings in the manager's office because she ran away from her violent partner," she said. "She'd rung DV service and there was no crisis accommodation for her. For DV services to be turning women away is not appropriate to do. There's not enough accommodation anywhere to deal with the social issues in our community, and more so with issues of family and domestic violence."
Ms Kilroy said women will continue to return to violent partners to "put a roof over their kids' heads".
"It's not something that'll happen in the future, it's already happening, until governments of all political persuasions start putting funding into this, and that is bricks and mortar, we're going to see the same over and over again," she said.
"Once the weekend, or the night or the week of that funding runs out, the woman tends to go back to the violent home because there is nowhere else to go."
Ms Walsh said more high-density housing with security was needed for women looking to move on after the "crisis point".
"Women are hesitant to leave because of the housing issue and I've seen many who enter the homeless system and they become homeless for years," she said.
"There is no one thing that can make anyone safe. For some people a protection order can. What we need is high-security buildings and buildings that have on-site security and support staff, for example."