Specialist domestic violence and housing services working together to rehouse and support victims have chalked up big successes in Brisbane this year.
A new strategy has seen the Department of Housing and Public Works, the Combined Women’s Refuge Group, Save the Children Fund, and the Brisbane Domestic Violence Service work together to track vacancies to find safe homes for women and their children fleeing violent relationships.
The collaboration started in May and since then 272 women have been rehoused — 95 of them in this past month alone.
It is an initiative of the Brisbane Regional Domestic and Family Violence Working Group and a goal of the “Not Now, Not Ever” report by a Queensland taskforce into family and domestic violence chaired by Dame Quentin Bryce.
Organiser and Micah Projects CEO Karyn Walsh said the team ensured a victim’s housing application was actually in or they got a quick referral to Rent Connect and then it was tracked.
“So as houses come up people can be prioritised and you can name the areas where it is safe for a woman to be,” she said.
“The process is collaborative, with meetings each month to plan a woman’s move from a refuge or a motel into private rental or public or community housing.”
She said it was a good example of integration across specialist domestic violence service and housing services.
“What it demonstrates is if women are left alone with no assistance to navigate the system — the systems not talking to each other — then progress is really slow,” Ms Walsh said.
She said working closely with women to help them negotiate the system and matching their needs with the resources available was much better than just waiting for their number to come up.
‘We don’t have to look behind out backs all the time’.
Among the benefactors of the new initiative were Mary (not her real name) and her two young children, who moved last week and have started a new life in a new home safe from violence.
“When we were in Brisbane my former partner knew where we lived and had threatened to burn the house,” she said.
Since the move things have changed dramatically.
“I’m sleeping and not worried about every car that goes past and even the kids are settled,” she said.
“We can go to the local shop and not look behind our backs all the time.”
This post originally appeared on ABC News.
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