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Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2019) Specialist homelessness services annual report 2017–18, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 09 December 2022.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2019). Specialist homelessness services annual report 2017–18. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/homelessness-services/specialist-homelessness-services-2017-18
Specialist homelessness services annual report 2017–18. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 13 February 2019, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/homelessness-services/specialist-homelessness-services-2017-18
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Specialist homelessness services annual report 2017–18 [Internet]. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2019 [cited 2022 Dec. 9]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/homelessness-services/specialist-homelessness-services-2017-18
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2019, Specialist homelessness services annual report 2017–18, viewed 9 December 2022, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/homelessness-services/specialist-homelessness-services-2017-18
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Domestic and family violence is the main reason women and children leave their homes in Australia  and is consistently one of the most common reasons clients seek assistance from specialist homelessness services (SHS) (see Clients, services and outcomes). Women and children affected by family and domestic violence are a national priority cohort listed in the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement , which came into effect on 1 July 2018.
While SHS agencies mainly assist people who are victims of domestic and family violence, they may also assist perpetrators of violence who seek homelessness services. Currently, the Specialist Homelessness Services Collection (SHSC) cannot separately identify these groups.
In 2017–18, SHS agencies assisted around 121,100 clients who had experienced domestic and family violence. In 2017–18, compared with 2016–17:
In 2017–18, 94,700 clients aged 10 years and over experienced domestic and family violence. Of these, 37% (or 34,800 clients) also reported experiencing at least one additional vulnerability (either a mental health issue or problematic drug and/or alcohol use). Almost two-thirds (63% or 59,900) of clients experiencing domestic and family violence did not report experiencing an additional vulnerability (Table DV.1).
Domestic and family violence
Mental health issue
Problematic drug and/or alcohol use
Source: Specialist Homelessness Services Collection 2017–18.
The number of clients reporting they had experienced domestic and family violence has increased since 2013–14. Key trends identified over the past 5 years include:
Number of clients
Proportion of all clients
Rate (per 10,000 population)
Housing situation at the beginning of first support period (proportion (per cent) of all clients)
At risk of homelessness
Length of support (median number of days)
Average number of support periods per client
Proportion receiving accommodation
Median number of nights accommodated
Proportion of a client group with a case management plan
Achievement of all case management goals (per cent)
Source: Specialist Homelessness Services Collection 2013–14 to 2017–18.
At the beginning of support, the majority of clients experiencing domestic and family violence were at risk of homelessness (61% or about 73,900 clients). Two in 5 (39% or about 47,200) clients were homeless when first reporting to a SHS agency for assistance in 2017–18 (Supplementary Table DV.4).
There were 2 main reasons why clients within this group sought assistance from SHS agencies. Domestic and family violence was identified as the main reason for 7 in 10 clients (71%), while housing crisis was identified as the main reason by 10% of clients.
More than 3 in 4 (76% or 91,500) SHS clients who had experienced domestic and family violence needed specific assistance for this reason, including therapeutic discussion or group sessions, counselling and specialised support services. Of those identified as needing assistance for domestic and family violence, 85% were provided assistance.
The next most common services requested by this client group were (Figure DV.1):
The outcomes presented in this section examine the changes in clients’ housing situations from the start of support to the end of support. Only clients who ceased receiving support by the end of the financial year are included in this section—meaning their support periods had closed and they did not have ongoing support at the end of the 2017–18 reporting period. It is important to note that a proportion of these clients may seek assistance from SHS agencies again in the future.
For clients experiencing domestic and family violence whose support ended in 2017–18 (Figure DV.2):
Of those clients who were housed, but at risk of homelessness at the beginning of support (that is, living in either public or community housing (renter or rent free), private or other housing (renter or rent free), or in an institutional setting (Table DV.3):
Of those clients experiencing domestic and family violence who were homeless when they began support:
Agencies were best able to assist those in short-term or emergency accommodation (50% or over 5,900 clients) and couch surfers (44% or about 3,600 clients) into housing.
At risk of homelessness
Source: Specialist Homelessness Services Collection 2017–18, National supplementary table DV.4.
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