By Rachael Wong
The federal government has announced 40 new projects to provide around 700 new safe places for women and children escaping domestic violence across the country. The extra beds are expected to accommodate about 6000 people each year.
This is very welcome news at a time when domestic violence rates have soared due to the restrictions and pressures associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The initiative will include the construction of self-contained houses and small group homes in addition to transforming office buildings into apartments. Some projects will house a small number of women and children for an entire year, while others will support people for three-week stays.
"When women make the decision to leave it is vital that they have somewhere safe to go," Social Services Minister Anne Ruston said on Monday.
"This increase in emergency accommodation will support thousands of women and children as they rebuild their lives free of violence."
Families and Social Services Minister Anne Ruston told Deborah Knight all states and territories have been included, with about half of the housing projects to be located in regional and remote communities.
“We’ve certainly made some focuses on areas that we know are over-represented like our Indigenous communities and our newer Australians.”
The initiative is going to cost around $100 million, with $60 million being funded by the government and another $40 million being contributed by the organisations involved.
Most of the shelters are expected to be up and running by mid 2022.
Rachael Wong is the CEO of Women’s Forum Australia