Survey of Referral Services

Survey of referral services in relation to women’s refuges in the aftermath of      “Going Home Staying Home” reforms

Executive Summary

This survey has been conducted on behalf of the Coalition for Women’s Refuges and has targeted services that commonly assist women escaping domestic violence such as women’s health services, community legal centres, court support services and police.
Over 100 responses were received and 74% of respondents reported an increase in the past 12 months in the number of women being assisted in relation to domestic violence.
Over 66% of respondents also reported that finding support for a woman escaping domestic violence during this period has been unsatisfactory or very unsatisfactory. A number of respondents commented that they were unable to assist any of the women approaching them, as “the shelters were full”.
A majority of respondents reported that accommodation was usually unavailable in local women’s refuges (58.7%) and the most common experience reported with telephone services such as Link2Home was that the accommodation offered was inadequate.
Almost 97% of respondents considered it important that no men should be accommodated on premises used to shelter women from domestic violence and almost 70% considered this an essential feature.
The vast majority (93.94%) also considered exclusively female staffing to be important or essential. Feminist management was also considered important or essential by 76.29% of those responding.
Other features considered by most respondents to be essential or very important included 24/7 admissions, ongoing case management and experienced staff including specialist workers for children, indigenous and CALD clients.
Almost 86% of respondents favoured a locally based women’s refuge over a service that is part of a larger organisation providing generic homelessness services. No respondents (0%) preferred faith based organisations for the purpose of providing services for women escaping domestic violence.
Approximately 30 respondents expressed interest in being further involved and have provided their contact details.
The results of this survey demonstrate categorically that the government’s “Going Home, Staying Home” reforms have been seriously misdirected and have failed to assist women escaping domestic violence during a period of heightened need.
The following report prepared by Theodora Von Arnim provides a detailed summary of the survey results. The survey results, with the exception of individual responses, can also be accessed directly at this link:
Feminist Legal Clinic
13 October 2015