Social Housing Critical to Women's Safety

MEDIA STATEMENT

(Sydney) 14 June 2019 – Women’s Electoral Lobby (WEL) is very concerned about the findings of recent research for the Australian Housing and Research Institute [1] on Social housing legal responses to crime and anti-social behaviour: impacts on vulnerable families, launched today.

WEL Executive Committee member, Dr Jane Bullen noted that this research identified cases where social housing providers expected women to control the violent behaviour of male partners and children and where women were evicted from housing because of violence against them. It also described other problematic decisions where children’s interests were not safeguarded and where there were barriers to support for Indigenous tenants including Indigenous women experiencing violence. 

“WEL stresses that women and children should never bear responsibility for the violence of others,” said Dr Bullen. "Social housing providers have a responsibility to provide essential safe and secure housing for women experiencing domestic violence. The report highlights the importance of fair decision-making by social housing providers,” said Dr Bullen.

During the NSW and Federal Elections WEL launched its Women and Housing Policy (2019 [2]) which clearly outlines the remedies.

  • Women’s disadvantage occurs in the context of an Australian and NSW housing market characterised by a lack of affordable rental housing, together with tightly targeted social housing with long waiting lists.
  • Forty-one percent of all people requesting assistance from specialist homelessness agencies have experienced domestic violence, the overwhelming majority of these being women and children. Lack of access to affordable housing is a reason why women remain in violent and dangerous situations.

“The AHURI report demonstrates that in some cases current social housing programs are failing vulnerable women and children, and need urgent attention.” concluded Dr Bullen.

-ends-

[1] The research was undertaken by researchers from the University of Tasmania and the University of NSW, and considered data from five states.

[2] WEL Women’s Housing policy 

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