New Approach For Family Violence Refuges

Women and children escaping family violence in Mildura will soon have access to new safe and secure accommodation with the support services they need to help rebuild their lives.

A family violence refuge under construction in Mildura is one of 17 being redeveloped across the state to provide privacy and safe homes for women and their children.

The Andrews Labor Government has committed more than $70 million to upgrade the refuges to a new service model and to build two new Aboriginal family violence refuges, following recommendations from the Royal Commission into Family Violence.

Under the new model, there will be a mix of one, two and three-bedroom self-contained units for women and their children as well as support services provided on-site by Mallee Domestic Violence Services.

This new model addresses barriers women face when seeking crisis accommodation. As noted by the Royal Commission, communal refuges can be stressful and confronting – the new model changes the way agencies deliver their services and offers women and their children independence and privacy.

Currently most of Victoria’s refuges are communal with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities and bedrooms shared by women and their children – the new model will offer independent units and 24/7 on-site support.

It offers greater disability access and enclosed spaces for pets in some select homes.

Construction on the Mildura refuge is continuing and is expected to be completed later this year.

Through crisis and outreach services Mallee Domestic Violence Services provides support to people experiencing family violence and offers education campaigns and male behaviour change programs. It supported more than 6,500 clients in 2018, linking many with critical legal support.

The Labor Government has invested an unprecedented $2.7 billion to prevent family violence and keep women and children safe and is implementing all 227 of the Commission’s recommendations with more than half completed.

Quote attributable to Minister for Housing Richard Wynne

We know family violence is a major driver of homelessness – that’s why it’s so important to give women and children escaping family violence the best environment to take refuge and seek help to rebuild their lives.”

Quote attributable to Minister for Prevention of Family Violence Gabrielle Williams

“We’re addressing family violence with a range of approaches that reflect the Royal Commission’s recommendations and keep women and children safe – we know safe and secure housing is critical to that.”