Domestic and Family Violence
Domestic violence is a major contributor to homelessness. One in three women who seek assistance from specialist homelessness services across Australia are affected by domestic and family violence. As a result, we are committed to addressing the growing problem of domestic and family violence in Queensland.
We have three key roles to play in addressing this issue.
- Provide housing services
- Fund homelessness services for women and children escaping domestic violence
- Enable and facilitate integrated service responses.
A key action in the Queensland Housing Strategy 2017-2020 Action Plan that accompanies the Queensland Housing Strategy 2017-2027 is to improve housing outcomes for women and children escaping domestic and family violence by constructing two new shelters and replacing or renewing shelters in three remote and discrete communities.
Two new shelters in South East Queensland
HPW is working in partnership with the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services to create two new shelters in South-East Queensland. $3.5 million has been allocated for the construction of the two new shelters.
Additional shelters in Roma and Charters Towers
Service funding of $4.48 million over four years and capital funding of $.4.2 million in 2016-17 has been allocated to provide and operate two new specialist homelessness services for women and children escaping domestic violence in Roma and Charters Towers.
Three replacement shelters
The department has committed an investment of $6 million over the three years 2017-18 to 2019-20 replace three shelters located in Pormpuraaw, Cherbourg and Woorabinda. We are working with local councils and existing service providers to ensure that the design of the replacement shelters reflect the needs of the women and children in each community.
Domestic and Family Violence: Not Now, Not ever
On 28 February 2015 the Not Now, Not Ever: Putting an End to Domestic and Family Violence in Queensland report was presented to the Premier. The Queensland Government has responded by accepting 121 Government specific recommendations from the report and supporting the remaining 19. More information on the progress of responding to these recommendations can be found by reading the Queensland Government Response to the Report and Implementation Plan.
Special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence
On 10 September 2014, the Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, MP established the Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence in Queensland, chaired by the Honourable Quentin Bryce AD CVO, former Governor-General of Australia.
The Taskforce was requested to review Queensland’s domestic and family violence support systems and provide recommendations on how to improve them and reduce future incidents of domestic violence.
On 28 February 2015 the Not Now, Not Ever: Putting an End to Domestic and Family Violence in Queensland report was presented to the Premier.
This report made 140 recommendations based on the insights gathered from five months of engagement with communities and individuals. The recommendations set the vision and direction for a Queensland strategy to end domestic and family violence and ensure those affected have access to safety and support.
Queensland Government response
The Queensland Government has accepted the 121 Government specific recommendations and supported the remainder.
The department has the lead responsibility for responding to five of the Taskforce’s recommendations—42, 84, 85, 87 and 88.
Our progress as at June 2017 is provided below.
The Queensland Government amends the Queensland Procurement Policy and Guidelines to expand upon Principle 4: “We use our procurement to advance the government’s economic, environmental and social objectives and support the long-term wellbeing of our community”, to include consideration of workplace policies concerning domestic and family violence as part of the criteria for determining ‘ethical and socially responsible suppliers’.
Accepted. The Queensland Government has established an Interdepartmental Committee to review government procurement, which will include consideration of government procurement policy and how various social initiatives, such as workplace policies concerning domestic and family violence, can be best implemented within the procurement framework.
The department is drafting guidance that will assist government buyers in considering supplier credentials related to domestic and family violence. The guidance will provide examples of clauses which can be included in tender documentation and contracts.
The Queensland Government immediately funds two 72-hour crisis shelters in Brisbane and Townsville respectively for women and children escaping violence so that immediate safety and support can be met while awaiting a refuge placement.
Accepted. The Queensland Government acknowledges the importance of crisis accommodation to support those escaping domestic and family violence and has committed to establishing two supported accommodation services in Brisbane and Townsville.
The department has worked collaboratively with the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services (DCCSDS) to deliver the two new crisis shelters in Brisbane and Townsville for women and children escaping domestic and family violence.
This enables the alignment between Specialist Homelessness Services, including women’s refuges, and the broader housing service system.
The providers for the new services were procured by DCCSDS in late 2015 and the services commenced operating on 18 December 2015.
The new shelters are also contributing to the delivery of Recommendation 87 with the shelters catering for families with companion animals.
The Queensland Government:
a. Transfers responsibility and funding for domestic and family violence shelters back to a single portfolio, i.e. the portfolio that is responsible for the broader domestic and family violence service response.
b. Commits to maintaining dedicated funding for specialist domestic and family violence accommodation, including refuges (non-competitive with generic crisis accommodation providers such as homelessness service providers).
Accepted. The state of Queensland will continue to maintain dedicated funding for domestic and family violence shelters. Responsibility for funding administration of domestic and family violence shelters will be transferred to the DCCSDS.
85a. The government agreed that responsibility for policy, planning and contract management for broad and specialist homelessness and housing system and programs remains with HPW, while commissioning and procurement for shelters is now undertaken by DCCSDS, in liaison with HPW. The transfer of funding responsibility was approved by the Governor in Council on 21 July 2016 and retrospectively effective from 1 July 2016.
85b. The department has negotiated new service agreements with all existing providers and funded homelessness services specialising in delivering accommodation and support for women and children escaping domestic and family violence effective until 30 June 2018. DCCSDS currently manage these service agreements and will be responsible for negotiating service agreements post June 2018.
The Queensland Government pilots a refuge that caters for families with companion animals with a view to rollout more flexible refuges into the future to meet the needs of victims.
Accepted. The Queensland Government acknowledges the importance of crisis accommodation to support those escaping domestic and family violence and will pilot a refuge for victims who have companion animals.
The new Brisbane and Townsville shelters delivered in response to Recommendation 84 accommodate companion animals wherever possible. The Brisbane service has reported that a number of cats and dogs have already been accommodated.
The department will evaluate this service element, as part of a broader evaluation of the shelters, to inform further program development and the delivery of pet friendly services in the future.
Further, the department will seek to include the capacity for companion animals in future shelters, such as Roma and Charters Towers and two new shelters to be delivered in South East Queensland.
The Queensland Government expands the range of responses to alleviate housing stress and homelessness for women and children escaping domestic and family violence including reducing the eligibility criteria on programs such as Rental Grants and Bond Loans.
Accepted. The Queensland Government is committed to alleviating housing stress and homelessness for women and their children escaping violence. The Government will be implementing processes to streamline access to products such as Bond Loans and Rental Grants which will reduce barriers to women and children affected by domestic and family violence accessing private rental tenancies. Read the Domestic and Family Violence fact sheet (PDF, 46KB) (RTF, 368KB) for more information.
We have undertaken a number of actions to ensure that housing assistance is provided appropriately when people are impacted by domestic and family violence, including:
- improvements to the Housing Needs Assessment tool to help us more easily identify women and children affected by domestic and family violence
- automated bond loan approvals for clients experiencing domestic and family violence who have verified their circumstances
- provided advice to Domestic and Family Violence Specialist Homelessness Service providers to clarify the supportive approach that clients experiencing domestic and family violence can expect to receive from Housing Service Centres in relation to:
- bond loans and rental grants
- RentConnect services
- social housing assistance
- tenants and the management of social housing tenancies
- development and distribution of information to Housing Service Centre staff that details and clarifies housing assistance available for clients impacted by domestic and family violence
- engaging with Housing Service Centre staff, to strengthen knowledge and understanding of the assistance and available support services to ensure that appropriate and timely referrals can be made when needed.
Our contribution to other recommendations
The department is collaborating with other government agencies to respond to a number other recommendations including:
The Queensland Government, in collaboration with local communities, develops a place-based, culturally appropriate integrated response to domestic and family violence in discreet Indigenous communities, which includes: a. A trial of integrated service provision in one discrete Indigenous community (also discussed in Chapter 7) utilising a locally-based shelter as a hub for the provision of wrap-around support services for women and children affected by domestic and family violence
Accepted. The Queensland Government will co-design, trial and evaluate a place-based culturally appropriate integrated service model in a discrete Indigenous community to inform future responses in Indigenous communities.
Recommendation (9)a is led by DCCSDS with support from DHPW, DJAG, DATSIP and QPS. DCCSDS is engaging with stakeholders to design the place-based model for the Domestic and Family Violence Integrated Service Response trial in Cherbourg. Development of the trial continues to consider the roll-out of other key reforms and initiatives for Cherbourg, including DHPW’s role in replacing the existing shelter at Cherbourg.
The Queensland Government establishes a model for inter-agency response to high risk cases which works within, or complements, integrated responses and which is progressively established throughout the state.
Accepted. In collaboration with key stakeholders, the Queensland Government will develop, trial and evaluate a model for inter-agency responses to high risk cases as part of the integrated service response pilots in three sites.
The Government’s response to Recommendation 76 is being led by DCCSDS with support from DHPW, DJAG, DATSIP and QPS. DDCSDS are working with partner agencies to establish High Risk Teams (HRTs). HRTs provide a forum for appropriate information sharing to ensure risk assessments are comprehensive, inform safety planning and risk management, and enable swift and flexible action across agencies in response to need.
The department has been allocated $1.286 million over four years for 3.8 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions, to contribute to HRTs that will be established in eight locations. Three HRTs have commenced in Logan/Beenleigh, Cherbourg and Mt Isa in 2016-17.
- Last updated:
- 29 November 2019