Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2016) Domestic & family violence & homelessness 2011–12 to 2013–14, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 06 July 2022.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2016). Domestic & family violence & homelessness 2011–12 to 2013–14. Retrieved from https://www.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://www.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 Jul. 6]. Available from: https://www.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 6 July 2022, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/domestic-violence/domestic-family-violence-homelessness-2011-12-to-2013-14
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Almost 2 million Australians aged over 15 years have experienced partner violence, and 1 million have experienced physical or sexual violence from another family member in their lifetime .
Domestic and family violence causes considerable disruption to the lives of Australian families, with many affected seeking alternative accommodation and often falling into homelessness. The majority of victims of domestic violence are women and their children, although men may also be victims. Domestic and family violence makes women and children vulnerable to homelessness in two major ways: firstly, violence removes the sense of safety and belonging associated with the home; and secondly, leaving a violent situation usually requires leaving the family home .
In situations where people experiencing domestic and family violence need to leave their home, Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) can provide:
Responses to homelessness are outlined in the National Partnership Agreement of Homelessness (NPAH), a partnership agreement funded by the National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA). The NPAH contributes to the NAHA outcome 'people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness achieve sustainable housing and social inclusion'. In March 2015, the Commonwealth Government committed to extending the NPAH until 2017, providing $230 million in funding (to be matched by states and territories). The funding prioritises front line services and assistance focused on women and children experiencing domestic and family violence .
The National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and Children 2012–2022 provides a framework to coordinate Commonwealth and State and Territory governments to reduce violence against women and children. The plan highlights the need to ensure services meet the needs of women and their children experiencing violence. This includes providing appropriate services at the right time and catering to the specific needs of client groups such as young women, older women, Indigenous women and women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (COAG 2011). Each state and territory has complementary plans in place to respond to domestic violence and support those affected.
The Specialist Homelessness Services Collection (SHSC) began on 1 July 2011, replacing the previous Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP). The collection has been designed to collect data from homelessness agencies that are funded under the NAHA and the NPAH. Clients who access Specialist Homelessness Services are described in this report using data from the SHSC.
Over the three years to 2013–14, AIHW was able to identify around 520,000 Australians who accessed specialist homelessness services. Of these, just over 187,000 were adults and children seeking assistance for reasons of domestic and family violence.
The table below examines the differences in demographics of clients who sought assistance for domestic and family violence with those that sought assistance for other reasons.
While SHS agencies mainly assist people who are victims of family and domestic violence, they may also assist perpetrators of violence who are seeking assistance and therefore may appear within the data in this report. The SHSC is not able to separately identify these clients.
Overall, there were almost 150,000 female clients and just over 40,000 male clients who indicated experiencing domestic and family violence. Of these, nearly 113,000 were adult females and almost 14,000 were adult males (aged 18 or over). For females, the greatest proportion were those in the 25–34 year age group (25%) followed by 35–44 years (21%). Males, however, reported the greatest proportion of domestic and family violence clients in the 0–9 year age group (47%), followed by 10–14 years (13%).
Female clients experiencing domestic and family violence were more likely to be 'sole parents' (40%), whereas male clients were more likely to be a 'lone person' (42%). The majority of female clients were not in the labour force (52%) or unemployed (30%). This was also the case for male clients, where 48% were unemployed and 38% were not in the labour force.
Source: AIHW Specialist Homelessness Services Data Repository.
Substance misuse and mental health issues have both been identified as pathways into homelessness (Chamberlain and Johnson 2011). Clients who experience family and domestic violence are more likely to experience additional comorbidities than those who have not experienced family and domestic violence.
For those adult clients experiencing domestic and family violence, over the 3 years from July 2011 to June 2014:
For those adult clients not experiencing domestic and family violence, over the 3 years from July 2011 to June 2014:
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people comprise 3% of the Australian population ; however, they are over-represented as users of specialised homelessness services for all domestic and family violence clients, with around 1 in 4 (24%) identified as Indigenous. Indigenous domestic and family violence clients were more likely than non-Indigenous clients to be female (74%) and live in a sole parent household (41%). Indigenous clients experiencing domestic and family violence were also more likely to be children than non-Indigenous clients, with 38% being under the age of 15 (compared with 31% for non-Indigenous domestic and family violence clients).
This analysis examines six key client groups, within the domestic and family violence SHS client population. These include:
Of all client groups experiencing domestic and family violence, most were women with children (45,400), followed by young women presenting alone (23,800), and Indigenous women (19,600). Males compromised just over 15,000 clients (Table 2).
Males experiencing domestic and family violence were the most likely to report having a mental health issue (47%) or experiencing substance misuse (35%), compared with other domestic and family violence cohorts.
Older women experiencing domestic and family violence were the least likely to report having a mental health issue (21%) and women from non-English speaking backgrounds were the least likely to be experiencing substance misuse, with only 3% indicating problematic drug or alcohol use.
If you are experiencing domestic or family violence or know someone who is,
please call 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) or visit the 1800RESPECT website.
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