Family violence putting kids out on the Street

July 26, 2016

homelessyouthAlmost 2000 South Australian children were forced into homelessness last financial year because their mothers were fleeing violent homes, latest data shows as reported by Lauren Novak.

Of the 22,800 people who needed homelessness services, just more than 8000 were experiencing family violence and all were women (6123) or children aged up to 14 (1952).

For two-thirds of those children, family violence was the sole reason they needed housing help.

A further 10 per cent accessed domestic violence-specific services and other services, which they may have needed if, for example, a parent also lost their job and was unable to make rent or mortgage payments.

The figures are detailed in a State Government discussion paper, first revealed in the Sunday Mail. It also proposes measures to curb family violence.

SA Police data included in the paper show that about 600 offences were committed against children aged up to 14 in 2014-15.

However, the paper warns that some age groups may under-report family violence.

Arman Abrahimzadeh and his two sisters were abused by their father Zialloh as they grew up, before he killed their mother Zahra in 2010.

Social Housing and Status of Women Minister Zoe Bettison added that research had found pregnancy was a time of higher risk for women in abusive relationships.

“That can be a time when things actually get worse,” she said.

Ms Bettison warned that an agreement between the State and Federal Governments to allocate a total $20 million for homelessness services was due to run out in 12 months.

She called on the Federal Government to commit to a further five years of joint funding to give security to those who work in, and rely on, the sector.

In addition to emergency accommodation, Ms Bettison said it was important to help victims remain in their homes when possible.

“So their children can continue to go to school, they can continue to go to work, and be secure,” she said.

The non-government Victim Support Service runs a program to upgrade home security for victims of domestic violence, and reports growing demand.

The Staying Home, Staying Safe program helped 1020 people in 2014-15 — more than double the 475 clients in 2011-12. To read more click here.

The 2016 STOP Domestic Violence Conference; Providing the Skills for Change will be held on 5 – 7 December at the Mercure Hotel in Brisbane.

With an improved focus and awareness on the effect of Domestic and Family Violence within Australia, the Australian and New Zealand Mental Health Association is providing a national unified platform to discuss the strain of Domestic Violence on Australian resources and facilities. Registrations are now open. To register for the Conference CLICK HERE. Early bird closes 24th October.

With a focus on building skills within the sector, the conference will include discussion and presentations around policy, research and practice with a particular emphasis on innovative and emerging responses.

Authors or organisations interested in presenting at the 2016 STOP Domestic Violence Conference are invited to submit an abstract. To submit an abstract CLICK HERE. Abstracts close 22nd August 2016.

Research has demonstrated that domestic violence is a global issue of epidemic proportions (WHO, 2013) and affects all cultures, ages, genders and socio-economic groups. Domestic violence does not discriminate.

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