National family violence data released

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National family violence data released

June 15, 2018

“When women and children first arrive at the refuge, they are traumatised and often with nothing more than a suitcase of clothes, and a toy for any children with them.”

The first national snapshot of domestic and family violence has been released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The data shows that on average, eight women a day enter hospital after assault by a spouse or partner. Intimate partner violence is the highest health ‘risk’ factor for women aged 25-44, outdoing smoking, alcohol, or obesity.

Their figures echo the data that Emerge puts together of the women and children entering its refuge and crises service: culturally and linguistically diverse women, Indigenous women, young women, pregnant women, women separating from partners, and women experiencing financial hardship, are all more likely to experience family violence.

Seventy-two thousand women, 34,000 children and 9,000 men sought homelessness services due to family violence in 2016 – 17.

‘This data is bleak, especially for children and already vulnerable women,” EO Paula Westhead said.

“It mirrors our experience here at Emerge where we run one of Victoria’s high-security refuge services and an essential outreach program,” she added.

The data reveals the strong link between family violence and homelessness. One in 56 Victorians received homelessness assistance, much higher than the national rate (one in 84).

The data shows that in 44% of cases, family violence was the reason. Thirteen per cent of requests for homelessness support involved children aged under 10.

“Many of the women and children stay in our refuge well beyond the
six weeks’ that our program offers them for a simple reason: there is no affordable housing available and the only other option is private rental which is out of reach for the women we support.”

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