Refuges / housing
Fourth Action Plan actions
- Improve support and service system responses
- 20 Improve access to suitable and safe accommodation within their communities for women who have experienced domestic, family and sexual violence.
What are we doing?
The Victorian Government is phasing out communal refuges and moving towards a ‘core and cluster’ model including building two new Aboriginal family violence refuges. This will ensure that refuge accommodation promotes safety, is accessible to people with disabilities, provides private units and enables connections with the community. As refuges are redeveloped, capacity for after-hours support will be provided.
Available emergency accommodation and support services include crisis accommodation, such as refuges, individual properties or units (‘dispersed’ models of accommodation) as well as communal refuges (which are being redeveloped to the preferred core and cluster model).Victim survivors in crisis are supported through case management, and, when refuges are unavailable, provided access to temporary accommodation, such as motels, rooming houses and caravans.
The Victorian Government has provided $23.9 million between 2018-19 and 2019-20 for crisis accommodation, which includes implementation of Family Violence Refuge and Crisis Case Management Responses, supporting a move towards the ‘core and cluster’ model of housing. The Victorian 2020-21 State Budget provided $18 million over two years to enable the redeveloped refuges to operate at full capacity, and the 2021-22 budget allocated $9.8 million for the construction and operation of an additional Aboriginal refuge in Horsham.
What have we achieved so far?
- Investment of $5.5 million to build 20 affordable units for women and children fleeing family violence.
- Investment of $83.2 million for redevelopment of family violence refuges to ‘core and cluster’ models and construction of two new Aboriginal refuges, and $9.8 million for a new Aboriginal refuge in Horsham.
- Investment of $1 billion Social Housing Growth Fund to support up to 2,200 new social housing places.
- Purchase and head-lease of 120 additional properties as part of the Safe and Stable Homes project to provide additional housing for victim survivors.
- Construction of new long-term public housing properties commenced.
- Funding for further refuge services to provide secure, after-hours crisis accommodation.
- Additional funding of $10 million has been allocated to fast track delivery of the core and cluster refuges and upgrade existing crisis accommodation facilities as part of the Victorian Government Building Works package announced in May 2020.
- On 15 November 2020, the Victorian Government announced the $5.3 billion ‘Big Housing Build’ initiative. There will be opportunities arising from this initiative to increase the supply of safe and affordable social and public housing for as many as 1,000 victim survivors of family violence across Victoria.
- Five new core and cluster refuges are completed and operational, with another four sites expected to be completed by the end of June 2021.
- As at October 2021, nine new core and cluster refuges are completed and operational. A further 10 sites have been acquired and are at various stages of design, planning and construction.
What is next?
- The refuge redevelopment program consisting of 17 new core and cluster refuges as well as for the establishment of two new Aboriginal family violence refuges, is scheduled to be completed in 2022.
- Of the remaining ten new core and cluster refuges yet to be completed, eight sites are currently in various stages of design and construction, with land search underway for the final two sites.
- Family Safety Victoria is working in partnership with Domestic Violence Victoria to develop program requirements for Specialist Family Violence Services that support case management service delivery and operation of the core and cluster refuge facilities. This is due for completion by the end of 2021.
What difference will we make?
This initiative will contribute to the National Outcomes that Indigenous communities are strengthened and that services meet the needs of women and their children experiencing violence.
The Victorian Family Violence Outcomes Framework was published in Ending Family Violence: Victoria’s Plan for Change, which outlined Victoria’s priorities in preventing and responding to family violence, why they matter, and what constitutes success. The Victorian Family Violence Outcomes Framework is a whole of Government framework and is intended to ensure Victorian family violence reform efforts are focused on the actions that make a difference. The Victorian Government is progressing development of the framework, including through indicators and measures. In time, measurement and monitoring of Victorian family violence outcomes may also support reporting for the National Plan.
Victoria will monitor this initiative by reporting on the establishment of the core and cluster refuges and measuring the number of households that can be accommodated in refuge, the number of family violence victim survivors who receive a refuge response, and the number of nights of refuge accommodation provided.