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Media Release by Senator the Hon Mark Arbib

Housing to help women facing domestic violence

The Gillard Government is committed to continuing to increase opportunities for women to live in safety after escaping domestic violence, Minister for Social Housing and Homelessness Mark Arbib said today.

Today on White Ribbon Day, the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, hundreds of community leaders, sporting figures and Members of Parliament will publicly pledge never to harm a women. Senator Arbib said the Government continues to focus on tackling domestic violence, which is a major driver of homelessness among women and children.

“Nearly one in three Australian women experience physical violence and almost one in five women experience sexual violence in their lifetime,” Senator Arbib said.

“The Australian Government believes this is disgraceful and unacceptable.

“That is why we are working closely with the State and Territory Governments to deliver a National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children.

“Housing is a key part of helping victims of violence and a safe place to live makes it easier for them to stay connected with their community through work and study.

“We are taking major steps forward in improving housing options for victims of domestic violence, but there is more work to do.

“The recent White Paper on Homelessness, The Road Home: A national approach to reducing homelessness, set a target of a 20 per cent increase in the number of families who live in safe and sustainable housing following family violence.

“Under the $1.1 billion National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness, governments are working together to deliver further support to enable women and children experiencing domestic violence to remain at home safely.”

Among new services supported under the Agreement are:

  • In Victoria the Family Violence – Support for Indigenous Women and Children initiative is connecting Indigenous women and their children to their community following family violence;
  • In New South Wales women and women with children who have experienced domestic violence are being supported through the Start Safely rental subsidy and through long term accommodation and support initiatives in Western Sydney, the Hunter and the Illawarra; and
  • In South Australia the Domestic Violence Safety Service is a state wide response that will be delivered in the coming year to provide a risk and safety assessment and home upgrades where necessary to enable women and children to safely remain in their homes following the removal of domestic violence perpetrators.

“The Australian Government is investing $20 billion in homelessness and affordable housing programs, which is helping to provide women with improved housing options,” Senator Arbib said.

To support White Ribbon Day or for information about the White Ribbon Foundation, please visit http://www.whiteribbonday.org.au.