BATHURST women and children fleeing violence are among those being forced to stay in motels because of a desperate shortage of crisis accommodation.
A report this week has found that, across the state, 50 per cent of women escaping violent homes are now unable to obtain immediate accommodation. The majority of those missing out have children.
Bathurst Women’s and Children’s Refuge manager Raelene Hopkins wasn’t surprised to hear about the shortage in crisis accommodation, saying yesterday it was across-the-board at the moment.
Ms Hopkins said NSW crisis accommodation was in a transition period, the result of a new tendering process, and was subsequently facing a lack of staff, funding and resources.
Locally, that means the Bathurst refuge will come under the management of a new provider.
Ms Hopkins said news that women and children were staying in motels, and in some cases would remain or return to an abusive environment because there was nowhere to go, was “very concerning”.
She said it was vitally important that women’s services weren’t lost, especially the skills and experience of those who have worked with survivors of domestic violence.
In the six years Ms Hopkins has managed the Bathurst Women’s and Children’s Refuge, she said thousands of women have passed through the refuge’s doors, many of whom are “among the most vulnerable in our communities”.
“These are women with children who relocate without any support or money; they literally have nothing,” she said.
Ms Hopkins said her greatest fear was women are at a heightened risk of returning to abusive relationships if they cannot find adequate accommodation.
The Domestic and Family Violence Crisis Line Australian network, an umbrella group that represents Australia’s crisis hotlines, which together receive about 500 calls a day, has also raised the issue in a submission to a senate inquiry into domestic violence, saying “due to systemic bottlenecks women are increasingly placed in expensive motel accommodation”.