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Homelessness and Family Violence

As Homeless Week 2022 draws to a close, it’s our hope that everyone is more informed about how widespread homelessness is in Australia and the real need for action. At Refuge Victoria, it’s an issue that lies at the very heart of everything we do: the very purpose of refuge is to provide accommodation to women and children who would otherwise become homeless because of violence.

“We know that every night there are 116,000 Australians without a home,” says Janet Jukes, CEO of Refuge Victoria. “What is less known is that almost 50 per cent of them are women.”

According to a 2022 report by the Council to Homeless Persons, family and domestic violence is the number one cause of women experiencing homelessness.

In the two years prior to 2022, women escaping family and domestic violence have made up the biggest client group seeking assistance from specialist homelessness services. Of these, more than one in three were not able to be provided with accommodation.

“When women in family violence situations have nowhere to go, they are left with an horrendous decision,” says Ms Jukes. “Leave and become homeless or stay in a situation where your life is in danger.”

Research by Equity Economics in 2021 revealed 7,690 women a year are returning to perpetrators due to having no-where to live. Approximately 9,120 women becoming homeless after leaving their homes due to domestic and family violence.

“This year the theme of Homelessness Week is ‘to end homelessness we need a plan’,” says Ms Jukes. “That plan has to recognise that addressing family violence is a key part of any plan to reduce homelessness.”

“The women who stay with us in refuge after leaving a violent home are often traumatised, physically and emotionally broken, and exhausted. Burdening them further with the risk of homelessness is simply not acceptable.”

Janet Jukes, CEO Refuge Victoria is available for interview or comment.

Media enquires should be directed to Margaret Ambrose, Communications Coordinator: