Royal Commission Hears Women's Voices

McAuley Community Services for Women has submitted a detailed submission to the Royal Commission into Family Violence. The submission draws on our extensive experience of working with women, with and without children, who escape family violence and who are homeless. It includes voices of women at the crisis centre and refuges while the submission was prepared.

As Chair Denis Moriarty said in the foreword: “McAuley Community Services for Women looks forward to contributing our knowledge and experience to the work of the Commissioners and in delivering solutions that will significantly reduce and eventually eliminate violence against women and children across Victoria.”

The submission groups recommendations around the following themes:

(Where possible) to enable all women and children to remain (or return) safely in their own homes. That includes:

  • a strong, consistent & comprehensively applied legal response to ensure safety at every point of risk, and,
  • women having the financial capability to afford their housing.

Where this is not possible, women and children need 24 hour access to crisis accommodation which is safe and includes wrap around support, rather than a motel room.

Children need to be responded to as individuals. Support to children also needs to attend to the mother/child bond which is often targeted and undermined by perpetrators of family violence, and leads to youth homelessness.

A national affordable housing strategy is needed to create an adequate supply of affordable and public housing, inclusive of a range of options for temporary/transitional and supported housing.

Cultural change within the community needs to be funded and supported, which includes community development funding for specific cultural groups.

And we want all publically funded programs to be developed using a gender based analysis so that funding is targeted correctly for greatest efficiency.

Programs also need to be evaluated and their outcomes made public.

McAuley Community Services for Women creates the foundations for women to regain control over their lives by providing a range of housing options and support according to each person’s need, inclusive of health, vocational, employment and social opportunities.

This model can be replicated across the family violence sector and broader community.