Domestic violence is one of the biggest causes of homelessness for women and their children and women’s crisis accommodation and outreach support services continue to have an essential place in the response to domestic violence. Whilst there is no ‘one size fits all’ safety plan to keep every individual woman safe, research consistently identifies two things as making women safer – going to a refuge and contacting a specialist domestic violence service.
Content warning: discussion of family violence
Many shelters provide a range of essential supports for people fleeing violence. However, demand for shelters outstrips supply. More than half of all women who seek refuge are unable to be accommodated. Many feel that they have no choice but to return to abusive situations.
Domestic Violence Victoria sums up the systemic issue around funding: “Family violence services, and indeed the system broadly, are funded as though family violence is an individual, incidental and temporary problem – a marginal and private issue – rather than the complex, long-term and widespread social problem it is.”
“Funding is insecure, short-term, cyclical and subject to the vagaries of changing governments and policy agendas." 
PRAY ABOUT IT
Jesus, as we pray for those women and children who face homelessness because of violence, we remember that you too were homeless. You know what it is like to be without security, and to be hunted. You know and you understand.
Together, we pray for shelter, stability and security for women and children facing homelessness. We pray that shelters would be well-resourced, and that they would never have to turn anyone away.
Activate our whole community to call for full funding for refuges, housing, counselling, legal and other essential support services. And give our nation’s leaders the will to respond. Amen.
- To end the family violence crisis we need full funding of family violence services. Add your name to Fair Agenda's call for all levels of government to fund family violence services
- An interesting article on the history of women’s shelters in Australia
- Is there a women’s shelter in your town or city? Google ‘women’s shelter’ and your postcode to learn more about local refuge services. Could you and your church community put together care packages for women who have sought refuge with these services?