Media Release by Senator the Hon Mark Arbib

Saying no to violence can prevent homelessness

On White Ribbon Day Minister for Social Housing and Homelessness Mark Arbib has highlighted violence against women as a major cause of homelessness.

White Ribbon Day is the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, when hundreds of community leaders, sporting figures and Members of Parliament will publicly pledge to prevent violence against women.

“Domestic and family violence is a major driver of homelessness among women and their children,” Senator Arbib said.

“According to an Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report around 29,000 women attended homelessness shelters fleeing domestic violence in 2009-10.

“That figure is simply unacceptable – and it is everyone’s responsibility to reject and prevent violence.”

Senator Arbib said the Australian Government was dedicated to promoting a zero-tolerance policy on violence against women.

“We have committed more than $86 million in funding to support the implementation of the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children 2012-2022,” Senator Arbib said.

“The Plan is the first of its kind to focus so strongly on prevention and will help ensure the rights of women of all ages.

“We also know that finding a safe and secure place to call home is a crucial step in ending violence against women and that’s why we have invested $5.6 billion in the Social Housing Initiative.

“Under the Initiative, around 19,600 homes are being constructed across the nation and will be completed by June 2012 – over 16,600 of these have already been completed.

“Many women escaping violence have been housed in these new homes.”

The Australian Government has also invested $550 million over five years to the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness which is delivering accommodation and services including support to allow women experiencing violence to remain safely at home.

Out of more than 180 initiatives under the Agreement, 21 initiatives are specifically targeting women and children escaping violence across Australia.