WOMEN and children are returning to violent homes because of a lack of crisis housing on the Border, community workers say.
Staff at Albury-Wodonga’s only women’s refuge, Betty’s Place, support more than 500 adults and children each year.
They say it is “incredibly difficult” for victims to find medium- and long-term accommodation so they can move on with their lives.
Albury-Wodonga Community Network chief executive Lucinda Rhook said the housing crisis was forcing Betty’s Place to become home to domestic violence victims for longer.
“We will keep women and children far longer than our funding body said we should, rather than make them leave and not have anyone,” she said.
Ms Rhook said as well as a long waiting period for housing with Albury’s supported accommodation service and Homes Out West, many victims also found they were extremely disadvantaged in the private rental market.
“They’re often single mums, out of employment because they’ve been looking after their children,” she said.
“And often they don’t have a rental history.”
Ms Rhook said it was difficult for women and families without a safe home, to move forward with their lives,
“Domestic violence situations often result in women having to deal with mental health issues like post-truamatic stress and depression,” she said.
“Some women will end up staying with family members and that will often put pressure on those relationships.
“And that can put other people in danger.”
The NSW Women’s Refuge Movement this week welcomed recommendations from a NSW parliamentary inquiry into domestic violence, saying the state government should address shortfalls in accommodation and support for women and children who have experienced domestic violence.
Interim chief of NSW Women’s Refuge Movement Tracey Howe said over half of new requests for accommodation had to be turned away by specialist services.