Major spike in number of women & children seeking emergency shelter

September 21, 2016

There has been a major spike in the number of women and children seeking emergency shelter due to domestic violence, according to the Queensland Government.

Peak organisation DV Connect provided 9,000 nights of motel accommodation this past financial year, State Government figures have shown. That is an increase from 3,624 nights provided in 2014-15 and 2,318 nights provided in 2013-14. DV Connect, which is receiving $1 million in state funding this financial year, received up to 150 calls a day in the past. That has increased to 250 calls.

About 900 women and children have been taken in by the Government’s 72-hour domestic and family violence shelters in Brisbane and Townsville, which were opened late last year. They were the first government-funded shelters in 20 years in Queensland, with more due to open in Charters Towers and Roma. Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Shannon Fentiman said more women were also reporting offences and breaches of domestic violence orders.

Ms Fentiman (l) and Ms Bryce at a domestic violence announcement in April.
Ms Fentiman (l) and Ms Bryce at a domestic violence announcement in April.

Family violence support services:

1800 Respect national helpline 1800 737 732

Women’s Crisis Line 1800 811 811

Men’s Referral Service 1300 766 491

Lifeline (24 hour crisis line) 131 114

Relationships Australia 1300 364 277

DV Connect’s Diane Mangan said there were two noticeable spikes in demand, firstly when the Not Now, Not Ever report, led by former governor-general Quentin Bryce, was handed down in March last year.

There was a second spike last September when two women and a six-year-old girl were allegedly killed in separate alleged domestic violence attacks.

Ms Mangan said placing women in motels was not ideal, but it did get them to safety quickly.

The Palaszczuk Government has allocated almost $200 million over five years into domestic and family violence services.

Part of the funding has gone towards implementing the 140 recommendations into the Not Now, Not Ever report, including specialist domestic and family violence courts, and implementing tougher penalties and a new charge of non-lethal strangulation.

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