Australia leads the world in its co-ordinated approach to the
collection of data on the needs of the nation's homeless, and the
services provided to them, Family Services Minister, Warwick Smith,
Mr Smith was releasing the first annual report of a new national
database which draws on information from almost 1200 agencies
providing support to homeless Australians.
"The Supported Accommodation Assistance Program's (SAAP)
National Data Collection is unique. Nowhere else in the world are
the various levels of government and service providers working
together to provide ongoing and accurate information on this
issue," Mr Smith said.
Mr Smith said the report's information would contribute
significantly to understanding homelessness in Australia.
"These comprehensive statistics will assist governments and
service providers to improve the support and assistance given to
The report has found that the major form of support provided to
clients over the past 12 months is crisis, or short-term
Of all women seeking supported accommodation assistance, 38 per
cent were escaping domestic violence and 14 per cent were seeking
help through SAAP because of family or relationship breakdown.
"This finding is significant in terms of future directions for
SAAP," Mr Smith said.
"The Government is already providing an additional $3.3 million
to continue the Rural and Remote Domestic Violence initiative,
which has established information and referral services in rural
and remote areas for women and children experiencing domestic
"The Government is also providing an additional $2 million to
explore the best ways of working with families, and in particular
adolescent boys, who are victims of domestic violence.
"This is in addition to the $240 million which the Commonwealth
and States will jointly provide this year to support the work of
Data collected in the report shows that 101,000 people around
Australia sought help through SAAP in 1996/97. Males made up 52 per
cent of users, and females 48 per cent. Clients aged 15-19 years
accounted for a quarter of SAAP clients.
"This information will allow SAAP to monitor and assess issues
such as client circumstances and the age, gender and cultural
background of people who are homeless," Mr Smith said.
"It will also assist governments to measure the effectiveness
and efficiency of the program."
The SAAP National Data Collection was established in July last
year. It has widespread support from all levels of government and
the community sector. The Australian Institute of Health and
Welfare collects and analyses data from government departments and
SAAP agencies to include in national and state reports.
This is the first time nationally consistent information which
protects client confidentiality has been available on an ongoing
Copies of the report are available from the National Data
Collection Agency: Michelle Wells (02) 6244 1032 or Fax: (02) 6244
19 December 1997
John Hewitt (02) 6277 7240. Mobile: (0412) 437 317.
We'd love to know any feedback that you have about the AIHW website, its contents or reports.