Housing shortage killing Aboriginal women

Stock image.
Stock image.

INDIGENOUS Australian women suffering from family violence are at greater risk of being killed and injured due to a lack of safe housing.

They are also more likely to lose custody of their children.

A new study, for the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, has examined the needs of indigenous women and children in the aftermath of domestic violence.

A shortage of emergency and long-term housing in remote areas means indigenous women often have no choice but to return to an unsafe home.

Lead researcher Dr Kyllie Cripps said women who fail to find long-term, stable housing within a year risk losing their children permanently.

Echoes of the stolen generation make indigenous women particularly anxious of the consequences.

“This is exacerbated by the hopelessness they feel in being unable to secure long-term housing … through no fault of their own,” Dr Cripps said.

The shortage also affects perpetrators of violence, making them more likely to return to the family home or be made homeless.

Dr Cripps says family violence among Aboriginal communities requires a holistic response.

“Providing services to women and children in isolation to the men is, at best, a bandaid solution of limited long-term effectiveness.”

The report, to be presented at a National Housing Conference in Darwin on Thursday, urges the federal and state governments to include more indigenous voices in housing policies.

It also recommends including housing under family violence targets within the annual Closing the Gap campaign.