When police are called to a family violence incident they are legally obliged to refer the victim to a family violence service. In the western region that service is Women’s Health West. We have three crisis response workers who receive an average of 550 referrals per month. One of those workers is Angela and this is her day:
On a typical day, we assess the L17s based on the code assigned by the police. Codes range from one to twenty. One denotes a serious assault and twenty means no threats, no assaults; a family conflict. The crisis response team handle all the criminal offences; serious assaults, breaches, threats, anything resulting in a charge. We refer cases involving verbal, emotional or financial abuse to our intake team.
How many police referrals do you receive each day?
It differs, we get about 60 on Monday mornings because of all the weekend referrals so we arrive quite early… but by Friday we might get about a dozen. We ring each woman and offer supports.
By Amanda, Crisis Accommodation Services
Most of us have experienced the challenge of sourcing and securing affordable private rental accommodation. Very few of us were fortunate enough to be successful first time round – even if we speak English, have a reasonable income, are employed and have a good rental history. This article highlights the barriers single women face when leaving our crisis accommodation service to move into the private rental market.
Across the western region, women report a lower individual weekly income than their male counterparts. In particular, 21.3 per cent of female residents and 14.7 per cent of male residents report an individual weekly income of less than $300. Low incomes have significant implications for women’s ability to access resources to improve their safety and wellbeing, and we see the reality of this when assisting single women in refuge.
Government housing stock for single people in the western metropolitan region is scarce, almost non-existent, so the only option for women with no children leaving refuge is to search the private rental market. Women with no children on Newstart or Special Benefit Allowance receive around $250 per week. Unfortunately, the median rent for a one-bedroom unit in this region is $240 per week. This is unaffordable for women receiving these benefits, so they must explore shared accommodation within the private rental market.